Democratic Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema has expanded her lead over Republican Martha McSally in the Arizona Senate race as officials continue to tally mail-in ballots - a change in fortunes that could narrow the size of the Republican majority next year. Appointed Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith faces Democratic challenger Mike Espy.
Coconino County Recorder Patty Hansen told Phoenix New Times on Friday that the county planned to verify signatures until November 14 at 5 p.m., or five business days after the election - the same deadline the county uses for voters casting a provisional ballot to bring in the proper identification so their vote will be counted. According to an update released Sunday evening, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema is now 32,640 votes ahead of McSally, with 49.1% of the vote to McSally's 48.1%, Politico reports.
More than 2.3 million votes were cast in the election.
In these two counties, voters can fix their ballots up to five days after Election Day.
But they, Democrats and the state's counties settled the complaint Friday to essentially allow the rest of the state to follow the more lenient Maricopa and Pima standards.
On Friday, the Maricopa County Recorder's Office had more than 300,000 uncounted ballots.
What caused consternation of Republicans and resulted in the lawsuit is that the early ballots being tallied from those four counties have overall been running in favor of Democrats - a lot. It asks that the judge either stop Maricopa and Pima from contacting voters to fix their ballots after Election Day or permit the rest of the state to do it. "We know there's urgency out there, but we want to get it right, not quick", he said. Thousands of dedicated Arizonans work in a non-partisan fashion every election cycle to ensure that every vote is counted.
The voting has been slowed by Arizona elections offices verifying signatures for those who vote by mail, which represents most ballots. In essence, he said, Arizona can not allow one early ballot to be counted in one county when an early ballot mailed at the same time in another county is not.
"In a democracy, no one - not even the President - can prevent the lawful counting of votes". It was put in when Maricopa was far smaller and only a handful of its residents voted by mail. There are another 375,000 votes outstanding in Maricopa County alone as of Thursday night.
Less clear is whether the additional votes will affect several close races yet to be decided. "I've been here before, and now, here I am again.the dentist's chair".
On Friday morning, Sinema's lead over McSally was razor-thin at 0.48 percent - with just over 9,000 votes separating them.