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Q&AZ: Why does vote counting take so long in Arizona?

Every two years, Arizonans cast their votes in primary and general elections. And every two years, critics complain it takes too many days for all the votes to be counted.

Through KJZZ’s Q&AZ project, a listener asked: Why does the vote counting process take so long? 

Election workers follow extensive laws and procedures to ensure the security of every vote, including processes to verify signatures on early ballots. Many early ballots are returned on or just before Election Day. 

On election night, Maricopa County officials announced it had about 147,000 ballots left to verify and process. 

“It ultimately depends on how many ballots are returned, and how many ballots are returned on election night," said Megan Gilbertson, the Maricopa County Election Department communications director.

Counting also doesn’t stop once the media declares a victor.

“No matter when the races are called, election officials continue to count all of the ballots until all of the processes have been completed," Gilbertson said.

It normally takes Maricopa County seven to 10 days to count all ballots.

Nick Sanchez is a senior producer for KJZZ's The Show. He joined the station as an intern during the spring of 2022, where he developed a passion for audio storytelling in the Valley.

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