Why does it take so long to know who won?

Arizona is a no-excuse early voting state, and voters have many options on how they can cast a ballot. In Cochise County, almost 70% of the voters vote early or by mail. Once those ballots are received, they are processed and counting begins 14 days prior to the election. They keep being counted as they come in. On election night, after 8 pm, those are the first results you see released. Then, as the vote centers across the county return results, those are also added.

Many voters choose to drop off their early ballot instead of returning it ahead of election day. Those must be processed by hand and the signature verified before they can be counted. That happens the day after the election. Many voters cast a provisional vote, and those also cannot be counted until such time as they are verified. In the 2018 General election, we had approximately 4000 ballots that couldn't be counted on election day because they required special handling. They were processed and counted once verified which can take several days.

Ballots that have write-in candidates must also be counted by hand. Only official write-in candidates are tabulated and when people write-in candidates that are not official candidates, that also slows the process down considerably. All of these processes take a little bit of time and are done to ensure that voters can trust the outcome of their elections.

Another reason it takes time to tabulate the ballots is to ensure the security of our elections. It comes as no surprise that the security of our elections is at the top of everybody's mind right now. Arizona has made it a top priority to make sure that our critical election infrastructure is secure. Some of these new security measures do slow down the ballot tabulation process. The duty of election officials is to timely and accurately tabulate results. Voters must trust the process and the results. While we want to release results quickly, it's more important to verify accuracy, security, and transparency to our voters.

Show All Answers

1. How do I know it's safe to vote by mail?
2. What Legislative and Congressional District represent Cochise County?
3. How can I find out if I am registered?
4. When does one have to re-register?
5. How can I register or re-register to vote?
6. I’m registered independent. Can I vote in the Primary election?
7. Who can vote in the Presidential Preference Election (PPE)?
8. I didn’t vote in the primary election – can I vote in the general election?
9. What are vote centers?
10. Where do I vote on Election Day?
11. How can I vote early?
12. Do early votes really get counted and is it safe to vote early?
13. What if I make a mistake on my early ballot – what do I do?
14. How do I use the machines at the vote center to cast my vote?
15. How can I save my time on election day, so I don’t have to wait?
16. What hours are the polls open on Election Day?
17. Where do I drop off my early ballot on Election Day?
18. What identification do I need to provide to vote in person on election day?
19. What’s a provisional ballot and why do I have to vote one?
20. Why did I have to vote a Conditional Provisional Ballot? What’s the difference?
21. I had to vote Provisional. Will it count, and how do I determine if my vote was counted?
22. I’m disabled, how can I vote?
23. Is election information available in English and Spanish?
24. What is a vote by mail election?
25. Why does it take so long to know who won?
26. I’ve decided to run for office, what do I need to know?
27. What is a Partisan Office?
28. What is a Non-Partisan Office?
29. Who can sign my petitions?
30. If I don't win in the Primary Election, Can I run as an independent or write-in in the General Election?
31. How do I run as a write-in candidate?
32. How do I challenge a candidate?
33. How do I get copies of my competitor’s nomination petitions?
34. How can I find out more information on the candidates?
35. How do I become a Precinct Committeeman?