Ballot Count Continues in Arizona

PHOTO: Brianda Lopez 15, joins Unite Here and Promise Arizona in Action to protest outside the Maricopa Ballot Tabulation Center Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012 in Phoenix.

Arizona is still counting ballots nearly two weeks after Election Day.

Secretary of State Ken Bennett's office wrote in a blog post that more than 135,000 early and provisional ballots remained to be processed as of Friday.

A state canvass to certify the election results for the presidential race, as well as statewide and legislative races, is set for December 3.

Thirteen of Arizona's 15 counties had completed their ballot counting by Friday afternoon, but Maricopa and Pima counties still had outstanding ballots. Nearly 100,000 provisional ballots remained unverified in Maricopa County on Friday, and 12,000 early ballots remained uncounted. Pima County's totals were much lower, with 26,000 provisional ballots unverified and only 140 early ballots uncounted.

By Sunday evening, Pima County had finished counting its early ballots and had only 500 provisional ballots left.

A spokesperson for Maricopa County did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Two of the state's major congressional races weren't decided until a week after the polls closed, and the third wasn't decided until Saturday. At this point, no major elections remain undecided.

Maricopa County has a live video feed from their "Ballot Tabulation Center," where viewers can select from eight vantage points. Repeated checks of various points on Monday showed very little activity.

According to a 2010 Census brief, Maricopa County is the fourth most populous county in the country behind Los Angeles County in California, Cook County in Illinois, and Harris County in Texas. Maricopa County is home to nearly four million people, more than half of the state's total population.

It took 15 days following the 2008 election to count all the votes in Arizona.

Bennett told the Associated Press on Saturday that he wants to overhaul the way votes are counted in the state in part by reducing the number of provisional ballots and allowing people to cast votes at any polling place in the county, and not just at a specific precinct.

"Right now we're operating like a bank that has 1,000 branches, but when you show up to deposit money you can only deposit at the branch you opened your accounts at," he said.

"I don't think there's some vast conspiracy here," Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell told the Associated Press. "We just need to make sure the system is working."

While the system might be working, it has not worked quickly in the past two elections -- a fact that is painfully clear to Arizona candidates and those who cast ballots for them.

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