Arizona's Maricopa County has not started counting 290,000 ballots that were dropped off at voting sites on election day — a critical batch of ballots that could help determine who wins the uncalled Senate and governor’s races in the state, Bill Gates, chairman of the Maricopa County board of supervisors, told CNN Thursday.
Maricopa County has about 400,000 ballots left to count, and 290,000 of those are early ballots that were dropped off at voting sites Tuesday, Gates told CNN’s Sara Sidner.
The 290,000 ballots that were dropped off on election day “was a record,” he said.
About 70% more people chose to vote by dropping off their early ballots on election day than they have at any point in the past, breaking the previous record, Gates said.
Those ballots must have signature verification review before they can be counted he told CNN.
“If you drop off an early ballot, it means it has to come in on Wednesday and start the process of being signature verified,” Gates said, which is a process that takes longer than voting in person on election day and having your vote counted through the tabulator immediately.
“We have experts here who go through, compare the signature on the outside of the ballot envelope with the signature that we have in our voter registration file, so that takes a while, cause we gotta get that right,” Gates said.
Maricopa County had “big voter turnout” throughout the whole election, with about 230,000 people voting in person on election day, in addition to the ballots that were dropped off, Bill Gates, Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors said.