PHOENIX – Republicans and Democrats of Arizona agreed on Friday to give rural voters a further chance to resolve the problems with their votes in the state Senate race count, resolving a GOP lawsuit that sought to prevent to urban voters to use the same procedures.
The agreement was technically among Republican and state county recorders, but Democrats accepted it as announced in a Phoenix courtroom on Friday afternoon. The 14 counties of Arizona have until November 14th to solve the problem.
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The Republican cause argued that state-county recorders did not follow a uniform standard to allow voters to face problems with their postal ratings, and that the Maricopa and Pima counties improperly allowed corrections for up to five days after the day of the elections.
Democrat Kyrsten Sinema rose to a slight advantage over Republican Martha McSally in the middle of the slow counting of votes.
Four local republican parties filed the lawsuit Wednesday night challenging the two largest state counties to allow voters to help solve problems with their correspondence post-election. If the signature on the voter registration does not match the one on the sealed envelope, both Maricopa County and Pima County allow voters to help them repair or "cure" them, up to five days after election day.
Many other counties only allow voters to take care until polls close on election day. Now, everyone will follow the standard set by Maricopa, Pima and two other rural counties that allow post-election day care.
Only a few thousand votes will be affected by the problem, but each counts in the US Senate race.
On Thursday, a Maricopa County official said only about 5,600 votes were hit in his county and the rate is similar in the 14 smaller counties. More than 2.3 million votes were launched across the state.
The political implications of the cause were unmistakable. Thursday, Sinema rose to a tiny advantage of about 9,000 out of 1.9 million votes counted after dragging from Tuesday. His guidance came from the two counties identified by the Republicans in their cause, in the counties Maricopa and Pima.
Last Friday, the Republicans intensified their attacks on the Democrats, arguing that they were trying to deprive rural voters of their rights – even if the Democrats did not have much to do with the rural counties that chose to count the votes. Those counties are predominantly managed by republicans. The Democrats, in turn, said the GOP was trying to cancel the cast cards.
The race remained too close to call on Friday with over 400,000 votes still not counted. The Maricopa County recorder, Adrian Fontes, said the count could continue until November 15th. "We know that there is urgency out there, but we want to do it well, not quickly," he said.
Arizona is notoriously slow in counting votes even though about 75 percent of the votes are expressed by post. Each of these votes must go through a laborious verification process.