Hobbs: Arizona's Early Ballots Can Be Counted 2 Weeks Before Election

Published: Sunday, September 27, 2020 - 4:16pm
Updated: Monday, September 28, 2020 - 7:55am

Early ballots will be mailed out to Arizona voters as soon as Oct. 7. 

A large percentage of Americans say they plan to vote early this year, which means election officials will likely be counting ballots days — or weeks — after Election Day. 

In Arizona, though, counties can begin counting early ballots up to two weeks ahead of Election Day. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs explains that those early ballot counts are included in the initial results released on Election Day.

“Nobody knows these election results ahead of time. Everybody finds out at the same time, at 8 o’clock on election night, when results start being released," Hobbs said. "When those early ballots that are tabulated prior to Election Day are the first results that you’re going to see posted.”

To streamline the process, Hobbs suggests everybody who chooses to vote early return their ballots as soon as possible, preferably using a ballot drop box. Voters should avoid returning early ballots on Election Day.

"What happens if you drop off your ballot on Election Day, is that county election officials still have to verify your signature and process the ballot," she said. "That takes time, and so if you drop off your ballot on Election Day, that happens after Election Day."

Hobbs says her office is not likely to have final results on Nov. 3, especially for close races.

"It's normal that this process takes some time," she said. "We certainly will not have final results on election night, and that is completely okay. We want to make sure we get it right."

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