FOUND: 213 Uncounted Ballots In Congressional Race Separated By 133 Votes

Derek Hunter Contributor
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The race to represent Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District is not yet settled. More than a week after Election Day, only 133 votes separate the candidates, with Republican challenger Martha McSally edging out incumbent Democrat Ron Barber. The race may end up in a recount. There are only 200 votes left to tally, and provisional ballots are not expected to be declared valid.

State law requires a recount if the margin of victory is less than 200 votes. Wednesday, officials found sealed envelopes with 213 uncounted early ballots, all of which Pima County election officials declared to be valid.

A printing error for a school district race resulted in corrected ballots for that race only being sent to voters who mistakenly placed their complete ballots in the same envelopes sent for the corrected ballots. The mistake was not discovered until those envelopes were opened Wednesday.

Provisional ballot voters who did not produce identification at the polling place had until 5:00 p.m. Wednesday to return to the polls and produce ID to have the ballots counted. There were 782 provisional ballots thrown out for various reasons, and Barber’s campaign is expected to argue they should be counted.

McSally told the Arizona Republic, “No doubt this has been a long process for everyone involved and we are grateful for all the support and encouragement we’ve seen. There are still ballots left to count, but we are confident that when all ballots are in, our lead will hold. We will continue to provide oversight of the process until then.”

Barber’s spokeswoman said, “We remain committed to protecting the integrity of the vote in Southern Arizona. During the legal recount process, we will work to see that every lawful vote is counted and that the voices of Southern Arizona are heard.”

The final results, provided the race goes to a recount and with subsequent legal challenges to provisional ballots, may not be known until Christmas.