An official in Maricopa County, Arizona, admitted Wednesday that current policies are not sufficient to allow the state to quickly process the “immense” number of early voting ballots dropped off on Election Day that are causing significant delays in ballot counting.
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer told reporters that approximately 275,000 early ballots were dropped off Tuesday on Election Day, which he said was “bigger than ever before.”
“This number is immense, and it’s something … it’s a conversation that probably Arizona needs to have in terms of public policy because this is a number that keeps on growing,” Richer said.
“It’s in many ways, it’s wonderful. Arizonans appreciate the … ease of the voting process in that you can just take your early ballot and drop it off on Election Day,” he said.
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“But it does inhibit us from having a higher percentage of returns available within the first 24, 48 hours,” Richer said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the bulk of the votes yet to be counted, roughly 400,000, were mainly early votes that had been dropped off between Friday and Tuesday.
Maricopa County has also come under scrutiny after roughly 20% of their polling sites had problems with tabulation machines on Tuesday, just hours after Election Day polls opened. Those problems also delayed the final voting results.
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Richer said the multistep ballot counting process includes image capturing signatures, verifying the signatures and then finally tabulating the votes.
Richer pointed out that in the November 2020 election there were 170,000 early ballots that were dropped off at polling sites on Election Day.
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“So, obviously, in just the span of two years, despite my best efforts, over 100,000 additional people returned ballots just by dropping off an early ballot on Election Day,” he said.
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Arizona’s election results will be one determining factor in whether the GOP takes control of the Senate in January.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.