Maricopa County election officials expect to release ‘big drop’ of results

Arizona 2022 midterm election

(NewsNation) — Ballots are still being counted in Arizona to determine the state’s next governor and U.S. senator. Election officials in Maricopa County expect to release a “big drop of votes” at around 6 p.m. Monday that may provide a “better sense” of the direction certain races are headed.

Arizona’s race for U.S. Senate was called by NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ on Friday in favor of incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly.

However, there are just under 128,000 votes separating Kelly and his Republican opponent Blake Masters, with about 160,000 ballots left to count in the state, according to The Arizona Republic.

Masters posted on Twitter Saturday that he won’t concede until every single vote gets counted.

“For my people who knocked on doors in 115-degree heat, and for the million+ Arizonians who put their faith in me, we are going to make sure that every legal vote is continued,” Masters’ tweet said. “If, at the end, Senator Kelly has more of them than I do, then I will congratulate him on a hard-fought victory. But voters decide, not the media; let’s count the votes.”

About 94% of the ballots have been counted and tabulated in Arizona, and 98,618 ballots dropped late last night out of Maricopa County, the Maricopa County Elections Department tweeted Sunday night.

Only 26,000 votes separate Democrat candidate for governor Kari Lake and Republican Katie Hobbs Monday morning, according to Decision Desk HQ.

“We need to get in there and restore faith in our elections. We can’t be the laughingstock anymore, and when I’m governor, I won’t allow it,” Lake said on Saturday.

If Lake wins the gubernatorial race against Hobbs, she said she will be making changes to how elections are run in the state.

However, Hobbs’ campaign manager Nicole DeMont said in a statement Sunday that she is still confident that Hobbs is going to win the race.

“With the latest tabulation results from Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties, Katie Hobbs is the unequivocal favorite to become the next governor of Arizona,” Hobbs shared the statement on Twitter.

Hobbs has maintained the lead over Lake, but questions have already been raised over the outcome of the election. Election officials in Maricopa County have reminded people to be patient because it is the laws in the state that are making the process take longer.

“What I will tell you is this is fast for Maricopa County, it usually takes us anywhere between 10 and 12 days to complete the count, and we think we’re going to be done by the end of this week,” Maricopa County election official Megan Gilbertson said.

Monday evening, Maricopa County election officials plan to share the results from a “big drop” of votes.

“This will be a big drop of votes,” Chairman Bill Gates said. “What we do here is we count the votes, and we report the votes.”

Gates says Monday night’s numbers will mostly come from certain early voting results from Election Day that came in late with the exception of ballots that need to be cured.

Election officials are in the ballot-curing stage Monday, making sure all the signatures are verified in Maricopa County. Arizona’s election procedure manual says that the state has to give people until Wednesday in order to make sure that all the ballots are valid.

Meanwhile, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has heightened security at the facility where votes are being counted. Officials don’t foresee a problem arising, but say they want to be prepared.

“There are good people involved in this process, and I’m confident in the outcome. If you are not, if you have issues, do not confuse your intentions with your actions. Meaning you may be well intended but if your actions are criminal, that line still stands exactly where it was. It has not moved,” the Maricopa County Sheriff said.

What’s left to count after the latest numbers are dropped Monday night? Gates says election workers will be busy working through additional early ballot envelopes that have been cured, provisional ballots that are cured, leftover box three ballots and a hand tally of a write-in race in legislative district 22.

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