Nov 12, 2012 5:49 PM by Lorraine Rivera
TUCSON - Election workers in Pima County are still counting ballots nearly a week after the polls closed.
Early ballots are nearly all verified and counted. Once that is done, workers can begin working on the estimated 27,000 provisional ballots.
Brad Nelson, the elections director said, "We've got a really good process involved, it just sometimes takes a little bit longer than people think it might."
There are dozens of elections employees going over early ballots that are considered problematic. Nelson said the problems range from voters coloring outside the lines of the bubbles to voters dropping liquids on their ballots. If a ballot is considered problematic, Nelson said county election workers, one registered in each party, will get a new ballot and duplicate the voter's choices. An observer from each political party is also on hand overseeing the process.
Once the ballots are processed, they are counted in another room where observers from each party are also available, "to make sure that everything is done properly, legally and we're accountable to the citizens and the public to make sure that everything is done properly and that we do that all the time," said Benny White, a republican.
Barbara Tellman, a Democrat who has observed eight election cycles, said, "I'm very impressed with the system that allows us to find one missing ballot among thousands and thousands of ballots. It's so organized you can easily go in and find that one ballot."
Nelson said 3,500 ballots were counted on Monday and approximately 16,000 on Saturday. There is a possibility of a recount If a race is within 200 votes. "If it's close enough, no one has to ask for a recount, it's done automatically under law within the State of Arizona," Nelson said.
On Monday, 698 votes separated Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Ron Barber in the race for Congressional District 2 - Barber holds a slight lead. The other undetermined result in Pima County is for Proposition 409, which would approve a $100 million bond program to resurface and improve Tucson streets. As of 4 p.m. Monday, the "yes" votes held a slight edge: 65,679 to 65,597.