Some 631,000 ballots cast in Arizona have yet to be counted, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said in a statement Thursday. The number was 602,334 on Wednesday. Hanging in the balance are several hotly contested races, including Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s effort to hold onto his seat for a sixth term. In Maricopa County alone 459,000 uncounted early and provisional ballots surely could swing the race either way—as of Tuesday night Arpaio held a 90,000-vote lead over Democratic challenger Paul Penzone.
“We’re deeply concerned by these shocking allegations and the notion that days after the election, nearly half a million Arizona ballots haven’t been tallied,” Monica Sandschafer, executive director of the Arizona Center for Empowerment said in a statement. “If true, this means that the voices of 1 in 15 Arizonans are simply being discarded. Nearly half of all early ballots in Maricopa County have yet to be counted.”
Latino advocacy and immigrant rights organizations are particularly concerned, because it’s Latino voters who are more likely to vote early. And a disproportionately high number of uncounted provisional ballots came in from parts of the state like West and South Phoenix where Latino voters are concentrated and precincts near Arizona State University, where students tend to vote. The sheer number of provisional ballots raises concerns.
Anyway officials need to certify election results by Wednesday so any ballots that haven’t been counted by then just get thrown out uncounted and if those ballots all happen to be from heavily Latino-majority voting stations then whoops what a wacky coincidence. That’s on the order of one-third the Maricopa County ballots that haven’t been counted, incidentally.