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Election 2012 Isn't Over in Arizona Yet: Still 600,000 Ballots Yet to be Counted

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Election 2012 isn’t quite over yet.  In Arizona, there are still over 600,000 yet to be counted, and in Maricopa County alone—where we’ve been keeping a close eye on efforts to unseat the notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio—it’s estimated that over half of the ballots have yet to be counted.

According to the Phoenix New Times, the uncounted ballots might be enough to make a difference in the race for Maricopa County Sheriff  (between Joe Arpaio and challenger Paul Penzone) and the Senate race (between Republican Jeff Flake and Democrat Richard Carmona).  Right now, according to the Phoenix New Times, Joe Arpaio is beating Paul Penzone by 87,360 votes, while Jeff Flake is beating Richard Carmona by 78,775 votes.  Six hundred thousand votes in either of those races—especially when they are provisional ballots, which tend to lean Democrat—could make a big difference.

Both Penzone and Carmona have already conceded, but efforts are under way to have them retract their concessions, based upon the large number of provisional ballots still to be counted, and widespread reports of voter disenfranchisement in Latino-dominant communities.

In Arizona, the election this year was plagued by reports of voter irregularities, including reports that some voters were forced to cast provisional ballots because they didn’t have certain ID or had requested ballots by mail.  According to Presente.org, there are reports that these ballots might be thrown away rather than counted.

In Maricopa County, the county recorder hasn’t even called the race yet–but major news outlets are reporting that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been reelected to a sixth term.  Even if the uncounted votes aren’t enough to change the outcome of any race, it’s hugely important to make sure that every vote is counted and that everything is done efficiently and transparently.

According to Presente, this means the 600,000 votes must be counted as soon as possible:

Not counting Latino votes is skewing results in the race to unseat Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Unfortunately the use of provisional ballots and refusal to count them in Arizona points to the rising new way to disenfranchise Latino voters, the primary victims of the “New Juan Crow.”

We’ll be sure to post updates as this story unfolds—stay tuned!