Maricopa County election officials set to begin automatic recount on Wednesday
The department says this is the first statewide recount in Arizona since 2010
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Nearly a month after Election Day, Maricopa County elections officials will begin recounting votes in three close contests on Wednesday.
All 15 Arizona counties will go through the same automatic recount process in the race for Attorney General and Superintendent of Public Instruction. The race for state representative in Legislative District 13 is a recount that impacts only Maricopa County.
The automatic recount is required by Arizona state law when the margin between two candidates is within .5%. Maricopa County elections officials say the last time there was a statewide recount was in 2010, but Maricopa has had two county recounts since then.
With a new law that makes recounts more likely, Megan Gilbertson with the Maricopa County Elections Department says the department was prepared before November, buying an additional seven tabulators. Starting Wednesday morning, more than 130 people will be back at work at the tabulation center in downtown Phoenix.
Before the recount can officially begin, legally the Secretary of State’s Office has to petition the court to order a recount. Once that is done, the office has to travel to every Arizona county to complete a logic and accuracy test on the equipment before tabulation can begin. That was completed in Maricopa County on Tuesday.
Gilbertson says the equipment has to be reprogrammed to only count the three contests in question. Like the general election, all political parties are involved in the process. “Maricopa County political parties play a very large role in this,” she added. “They appoint the boards for those adjudication boards. They appoint those hand count boards. And they also have observers throughout the entire process.”
Once the machine count is done, elections officials expect to start a 2% hand recount audit this weekend that should take a few days, Gilbertson told Arizona’s Family.
One aspect of the recount that is different from the general election is that Arizona law does not allow counties to publish the results during the recount. Once each county is done, Gilbertson says they provide the sealed results to a judge, who will then affirm the winners.
Gilbertson says a court hearing is set for Dec. 22, which means the counties have to be finished recounting by that date.
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