Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes explains why ballot count is progressing slowly

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- Hundreds of thousands of ballots still need to be counted in Maricopa County, leaving many voters frustrated.

Wednesday was another busy day at the Maricopa County Recorders Office, as workers continued to count ballots through the day.

"There would have been 60 to 70 people here until 2 or 3 in the morning last night," said Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes. 

About half a million ballots still need to be processed. Fontes says things are working slower this election, and one of the reasons for that is the data cartridges from polling locations are now physically brought to the Recorder's Office to be counted. 

"That's one of the security points of vulnerability that we've always had, because what we would do is we'd remove the cartridge at the precinct, we would take it to a hub, upload it into a laptop, and then transmit those results over the phone line back here to the warehouse," said Fontes. "So, instead of doing that transmission, my process is to pull those out of the tabulator and physically bring them back here, without having to transmit over phone lines."

Another thing slowing things down: Fontes turned back on a safety feature for outstack ballots.

"Let's just say you voted for Candidate A, and there was a bleed through on the ballot from the ink onto Candidate B. Without the safety turned on, then those would just go through as an over vote," said Fontes.

Now, if an outstack ballot get flagged, a worker must manually inspect and count it. Fontes says all of this may take longer, but he wants to get it done right, not quick.

Fontes says ballots will be counted until noon on Thursday, and the next set of results will be released at 5:00 p.m. Thursday. He is hoping to have the results tabulated within eight to nine days. 

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