Arizona election results not expected until next week as trailing Kari Lake ‘100% confident’ in governor win

Far-right GOP candidate baselessly asserts victory as thousands of ballots still to be counted

Eric Garcia,Alex Woodward
Thursday 10 November 2022 15:17 GMT
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Kari Lake falsely claims rival Katie Dobbs has never been in lead in Arizona race

Election officials are continuing to tally up thousands of ballots in Arizona before unofficial results in key races can be determined.

Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs has a slight lead against Republican former news anchor Kari Lake in the race for governor, but there are roughly 622,455 ballots left to be counted.

The majority of those, about 400,000 ballots, are in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county that includes Phoenix.

Of those ballots, about 290,000 were dropped off at vote centers on Election Day, according to the county’s Board of Supervisors chair Bill Gates. Those ballots must first be processed before they are tallied up, resulting in some delays.

“I think that we’ll see the lion’s share wrap up by early next week,” Mr Gates told CNN on 10 November.

Thanks to a 30-year-old election law in the state, early voting by mail is by far the most popular way to vote in Arizona. Roughly 90 per cent of Arizona voters voted early in 2020 elections, most of whom voted by mail.

But the process of review, including signature verification, “takes a while, because we have got to get that right,” Mr Gates told CNN.

“We want to make sure every eligible ballot is counted ... This isn’t new to us,” he said. “People who are saying, ‘What’s going on here?’ They haven’t been paying attention.”

The county also has roughly 17,000 ballots that could not be read on Election Day because of a printer error, according to a joint statement from Mr Gates and Vice Chairman Clint Hickman on 9 November.

They assured that “all ballots will be counted securely and accurately.”

“While the issue impacted less than 7 per cent of Election Day voters (about 17,000 ballots), we understand that for people who went through it, this was frustrating, inconvenient, and not how they pictured Election Day,” they wrote.

Arizona’s elections are among the closest-watched in the country, including the governor’s race and two other statewide races – secretary of state and attorney general – with GOP candidates that have amplified baseless election-related conspiracies and have threatened to upend electoral administration in the state, if elected.

Kari Lake
Kari Lake (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Former president Donald Trump endorsed Ms Lake during the primary while current Republican Governor Doug Ducey and former vice president Mike Pence have supported her opponent.

Ms Lake is among the most outspoken proponents of Mr Trump’s election lies and has pledged to decertify the state’s 2020 presidential election results. Despite the thousands of pending results that have not been counted in the state, she said to “put a fork” in the race.

She accused elections officials of “slow-rolling and dragging their feet and delaying the inevitable,” baselessly asserting that “they don’t want to put out the truth, which is that we won.”

“They’re trying to pour cold water on this movement. This movement is on fire and no amount of water is going to put that fire out,” she said on far-right activist Charlie Kirk’s broadcast on Thursday.

Katie Hobbs
Katie Hobbs (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Meanwhile, Ms Hobbs, who is the current secretary of state, urged her supporters and voters to “hang tight”.

“Let’s let our local election officials do their jobs, without fear or interference,” she said on Twitter on Wednesday.

A statement from her campaign told supporters to “be patient and wait for every last vote to be counted.”

“I have every confidence that the counties administering this election conducted a free and fair election, and their results will be accurate,” she said. “But they will take time.”

Election results in the state also could determine the balance of power in the US Senate, with a closely watched race between Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly and far-right venture capitalist Blake Masters.

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