On Friday, a judge in Arizona will hear a challenge from four local Republican parties who sued Wednesday night to limit the votes counted in Maricopa and Pima counties, the state's two biggest and most Democratic counties, or expand the ability of rural, Republican-leaning counties to count contested mail-in ballots, too. Thanks to votes counted mostly in Maricopa County, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema took a narrow lead in Arizona's still-unresolved Senate race.
Pima, Maricopa, and a handful of other Arizona counties allow voters to "cure" or resolve discrepancies between their on-file signatures and the ones on their ballot for five days after an election; other counties allow voters to "cure" their ballots only up until polls close on Election Day. The Yuma, Navajo, Apache, and Maricopa County Republican parties want the judge to stop Maricopa and Pima county election officials from contacting voters after Election Day or allow all counties too. On Thursday, Maricopa County officials said only about 5,600 ballots need such verification, The Associated Press reports, but every vote will count in this neck-and-neck race.
As of Thursday night, Sinema leads Republican Martha McSally by about 9,000 votes, out of 2.2 million cast. Maricopa County has about 345,000 ballots to count, a famously arduous and time-consuming process in Arizona, and about 127,000 are still to be counted elsewhere in the state. Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said his office, using a 1980s-era computer system, can tally only 75,000 votes a day, and it may not be finished until Nov. 15. "We know there's urgency out there, but we want to get it right, not quick," he said. Peter Weber