WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press has not yet called the open governor's race in Arizona between Katie Hobbs, the Democratic secretary of state, and Republican Kari Lake, a former TV broadcaster, because there are simply too many votes left to count to conclude Hobbs' lead is insurmountable.
That's particularly true given that most of the remaining ballots were cast on Election Day, and this year in Arizona, those votes are expected to skew for the GOP.
Vote counting in Arizona has been ongoing since Tuesday's midterm elections, with officials in the state's 15 counties releasing tallies of votes as they have been processed.
As of Saturday, the margin in the governor’s race sat at just over 34,000 votes, with Lake about a point and a half behind. There are still more than 260,000 votes left to count in Arizona, meaning that Lake needs about 57% of remaining votes to overtake Hobbs.
Almost all of Arizona’s vote happens by mail, although some voters cast their ballots in-person at voting centers. Most Arizona counties don’t count ballots in-house, with officials instead bringing them to a central facility.
Early votes in Arizona can be counted as they come in, meaning that officials don’t have to wait until polls close on Election Day to start.
Arizona officials release their vote totals in batches. Much of the focus has been on Maricopa, the state's largest county, with a total of 4.5 million residents — more than half of Arizona's total population — and about 2.4 million registered voters.
But other big releases have been coming from Arizona's next two most populated counties: Pima (home to Tucson) and Pinal, a large, suburban area just south of metro Phoenix.
Here’s the situation so far, starting with the most recent information:
SATURDAY, NOV. 12
—MARICOPA: On Saturday, Maricopa County officials released a batch of nearly 85,000 votes, which broke just slightly over half for Lake.
—PIMA: In a nearly 20,000-vote batch released Saturday by Pima County, Hobbs had a nearly 30 percentage point edge on Lake.
Officials also said they planned no vote release for Pima County on Sunday. Pinal County did not release vote totals on Friday or Saturday.
FRIDAY, NOV. 11
—MARICOPA: At around 10 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, officials in Maricopa released another batch of 75,000 votes, a tranche that provided enough information for AP to determine that Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly had won reelection against Republican Blake Masters.
But there still was not enough for AP to call a winner in the governor’s race. The batch favored Hobbs over Lake by less than 10 percentage points.
—PIMA: Pima County’s Friday votes totaled nearly 25,000 and favored Hobbs over Lake by nearly 2-to-1. Officials said they had only about 6,000 regular ballots left to verify on Saturday.
THURSDAY, NOV. 10
—MARICOPA: On Thursday, Maricopa County reported a total of 78,000 votes, in a batch that favored Hobbs by 10 percentage points.
—PIMA: Pima County released vote loads totaling about 32,000 on Thursday, favoring Hobbs by about 30 percentage points.
—PINAL: Pinal County’s Thursday vote release of about 8,500 favored Lake by around 10 percentage points.
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 9
—MARICOPA: On Wednesday evening, Maricopa County officials released their first batch of vote totals, figures that didn’t include any of the 275,000 early ballots received on Election Day.
In all, Maricopa officials reported a total of 225,065 votes, favoring Lake by more than 30 percentage points.
—PIMA: Pima County’s Wednesday vote releases totaled nearly 83,000, with Lake outperforming Hobbs by more than 20 percentage points.
—PINAL: The Wednesday vote releases from Pinal County totaled around 75,000, favoring Lake by more than 20 percentage points.
TUESDAY, NOV. 8
—MARICOPA: On Election Day, nearly 837,000 votes came in from Maricopa County, favoring Hobbs over Lake by more than 10-point margins.
—PIMA: Pima County officials reported nearly 190,000 votes, in which Hobbs had a more than 2-to-1 edge on Lake.
—PINAL: Pinal County officials released nearly 38,000 votes, which were nearly evenly split between Hobbs and Lake.
REMAINS OF THE DAY
In all of Arizona, officials said that there were some 260,000 ballots left to count, including up to 195,000 remaining votes in Maricopa County. Tens of thousands of those remaining votes were ballots that came in on Election Day itself — votes known in some places as “late earlies,” the counting of which has been known to hold up tabulation.
In all, Maricopa officials said they processed a record number — 290,000 — of early ballots that had been dropped off on Election Day.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP
Check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections.
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Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press