As if the nightmare in my own state isn’t bad enough, Arizona is also facing uncertainty with regard to its Senate race.  So far, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema leads Republican Martha McSally by approximately 22,000 votes.

McSally issued a statement in which she vows to stay the course “until every ballot is counted.”

We may not know the results until after November 14th, the deadline for rural counties to address problems, per a settlement reached Friday.

CBS News reports:

Votes from Election Day are still being tabulated in Arizona.

As of Saturday morning, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema was leading the race against Republican Martha McSally by around 20,000 votes. McSally had led by a narrow margin in the days after Election Day, but Sinema took the lead when ballots from heavily Democratic areas such as Maricopa County were counted.

One reason it is taking days to count the votes is that around three-quarters of Arizona’s voters send mail-in ballots, meaning that they fill out their votes at home and mail them to their county board of elections. Since some mail-in ballots arrive close to Election Day, it takes longer to count them.

Additionally, Maricopa County and Pima County — two primarily Democratic counties — allow voters to address problems with their mail-in ballots up to five days after the election if there is a disparity between the signature on their voter registration and the signature on the ballot envelope. Last week, four county Republican parties sued to prevent counties from trying to verify signatures after polls closed.

Arizona Democrats and Republicans reached a settlement on the issue on Friday, allowing voters in rural counties as well as in Maricopa and Pima to have extra time to fix problems with their ballots. The counties have until November 14 to address the issue.

McSally issued the following statement Friday:  “Equal protection under the law is a fundamental constitutional right for American voters. As a combat veteran, I fought to protect it. And today, we won an important battle to preserve that right for rural voters in Arizona. I will continue fighting until every ballot is counted.”

Meanwhile, Republicans in Arizona are contesting the involvement of an election official who previously represented “clients in narco-terrorism and firearms scandals,” including Fast and Furious.  They contend that Adrian Fontes “intentionally put himself above the law and the judicial process” and therefore should not be involved in counting votes.

Fox News reports:

A county official in Arizona, whom Republicans accuse of destroying evidence to cover up “voting irregularities,” has previously defended the accused ringleader of a group of gun straw buyers in Operation Fast and Furious, the federal operation that led to the death of a Border Patrol agent in the state.

Before he was elected in 2016 as Maricopa County recorder, Adrian Fontes was an attorney representing clients in narco-terrorism and firearms scandals.

He is now at the center of a contentious vote-count procedure in Arizona’s U.S. Senate race, where Democrat Kyrsten Sinema suddenly took a lead over Republican Martha McSally, thanks to votes mostly in Maricopa County.

The Republican Party objected to Fontes’ efforts to allow voters to confirm that they signed early ballots that were dropped off on Election Day, and criticized the official for opening emergency voting centers the weekend before Tuesday’s election and for mixing disputed ballots with valid ones.

. . . . “Adrian Fontes intentionally put himself above the law and the judicial process,” Arizona Republican Party Chairman Jonathan Lines said in a statement before the agreement. “Such a man cannot be trusted to administer elections in Arizona. We are reviewing all legal options at this time and will continue to protect the rights of every legal voter in Arizona.”


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