Arizona Still Counting Ballots Nearly A Week After Election

November 12, 2012 9:20 a.m.

Hundreds of thousands of ballots have yet to be counted in Arizona nearly a week after Election Day, a majority of which appeared to come from Maricopa County.Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett’s said Saturday that approximately 486,405 ballots still have to be counted across the state, representing more than a quarter of the 1.8 million votes cast. About 322,000 of those uncounted ballots came from Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and many of its suburbs. The statewide total included 307,620 early ballots and 178,785 provisional ballots.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona sent a letter to county and state elections officials on Friday suggesting that Arizona’s voter identification law may have had a disproportionate impact on minority voters. Under the law, voters can show photo identification or provide two forms of non-photo identification such as bank statements or utility bills. Voters who did not provide such forms of identification would be forced to cast conditional provisional ballots, which require them to provide identification to elections officials by this Wednesday to have their ballot count.

“The ACLU of Arizona is deeply concerned by continuing reports of hundreds of thousands of uncounted ballots, expressed concerns about lack of transparency and clarity in the process, and disproportionately high numbers of provisional ballots issued to minority voters,” ACLU Arizona Executive Director Alessandra Soler wrote in the letter.

The New York Times reported that many of those who had to cast provisional ballots were first time minority voters who signed up to receive their ballots in the mail but never did. The group One Arizona is calling on the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to investigate. DOJ had sent federal observers to Maricopa County to monitor polling place activity on Election Day.

Late update: A DOJ representative declined to say whether the Civil Rights Division would get involved.

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