What Took So Long? Explaining Arizona's Ballot Fiasco

Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images
Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images

President Obama was re-elected weeks ago, but Arizona just completed its ballot counting on Wednesday. Colorlines' columnist Aura Bogado digs into how it can take one state so long to tally its ballots, and why the state has done the same thing over the last two presidential elections.

That Latinos would have concerns about the process is to be expected. More than a month ago, the Maricopa County Elections Department misled some voters by printing the wrong election date on cards and book markers issued to Spanish-speaking voters. Just one week later, voters received a letter stating their signatures needed verification. When I called the number these voters were given, there was initially no answer or voicemail setup. Eventually, someone did pick up, but no one on the line spoke Spanish and I was told to call back "mañana".

But when it comes to provisional ballots, it seems they were issued all over Arizona, and not just to Latinos. Arizona Secretary of State spokesperson Matt Roberts was quick to point out when we spoke yesterday that there was nothing unusual about the amount of time it's taken to count all the ballots. Both Maricopa and Pima counties took two weeks to tally all the votes in 2004 and 2008 as well.

"It's nothing new, so let's get over that misconception," he told me. And he's right. According to the law, Arizona can take its time to make sure all its votes are counted, and it does. But that doesn't exactly inspire confidence for voters who might feel their ballots didn't count for weeks after such an important election.


Read Aura Bogado's entire piece at Colorlines.

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