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More than 600,000 ballots in Arizona still uncounted

More than 600,000 ballots in Arizona still uncountedMore than 600,000 early and provisional ballots statewide have yet to be processed and counted, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said Wednesday.

Of that total, nearly 460,000 votes still haven’t been counted in Maricopa County, and that’s complicating the ability to call several close races throughout Arizona.

Bennett said the uncounted ballot total was 602,334 as of Wednesday, including Maricopa County’s 344,000 uncounted early ballots and 115,000 provisional ballots yet to be verified.

State law gives the counties 10 calendar days — until Nov. 16 — to verify and process the remaining early and provisional ballots.

A state canvass to certify official election results for federal, statewide and legislative races is scheduled Dec. 3.

Individuals who had insufficient identification when they went to vote at a polling place were allowed to cast a “conditional provisional” ballot. They have until Nov. 13 to return to their county elections office with proper identification.

In some cases, close elections might not be decided for several days, or even a week. Pima County won’t even begin counting provisional ballots until Monday, according to The Arizona Republic.

In many counties, a portion of the ballots that arrived before Election Day weren’t counted before the polls opened. Some couldn’t be counted in time, while others needed to be reprocessed because of overvotes, which occur when voters cast votes for too many candidates in a given race.

Early ballots that were dropped off at polling places have yet to be counted in many counties because voters’ signatures need to be verified.

Pima County has 80,000 early and provisional ballots. Pinal County has 27,000, Coconino has 11,000, Navajo has 5,600, Gila has 3,400 and Apache has 2,457.

The number in Cochise County is unknown, but there is a large percentage of outstanding ballots, according to the secretary of state’s turnout numbers. Cochise’s voter turnout was at 38 percent Wednesday, the lowest of any county. The turnout could end up being about 70 percent.

Chris Roads, Pima County’s deputy recorder and registrar of voters, said this year was the largest he has ever seen for provisional ballots and early ballots dropped off at polls.

Pinal County had yet to process about 20,000 early ballots and 7,000 provisional ballots as of Wednesday. Pinal County Elections Director Steve Kizer anticipates the last ballot will be counted early next week at the latest. Until then, he said the county will provide a daily update of election results.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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