Ken Bennett Says 342,936 Ballots Left, 215K from Maricopa County

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Like the Beatles once crooned, "It's getting better all the time...."

Both Maricopa County and the Arizona Secretary of State's Office updated their elections results this afternoon, and the number of remaining ballots is declining at a steady pace.

SOS Ken Bennett reported that statewide 342,936 early and provisional ballots remain to be processed.

Most of that is from Maricopa County, 215,000 ballots in all, according to County Recorder Helen Purcell.

See also: -Joe Arpaio Recall Fever Meets Two Americans at Harkins (w/Updates) -Rich Carmona 4.25 4 4.06 Points Down, Kyrsten Sinema Gains, and 524,633 Votes Left Statewide (w/Update) -Arizona Secretary of State Reports 631,000 Ballots Uncounted (w/Updates)

"For today 49,847 early ballots were tabulated and approximately 93,000 early ballots still remain to be processed for tabulation," Purcell stated in a press release. "The provisional ballot update is approximately at 122,000 for processing then tabulation."

Which is a significant drop from last week, when the SOS reported more than 600,000 ballots outstanding statewide, and Maricopa County reported more than 400,000 left.

There were around 100,000 provisional ballots cast in 2008, which would indicate a 22 percent rise this year.

Redistricting and the county's consolidation of its polling places, from 1,142 to 728, are likely the main causes of much of the confusion that transpired last week.

Maricopa County elections spokeswoman Yvonne Reed claimed the consolidation will save the county an estimated $3 million.

The U.S. Department of Justice approved the move, she said, as the federal government has oversight of all things election-related in Arizona, because of the state's history of discriminatory voting practices.

Reed provided me with the following stats.

She said that 13,029 early ballots requested by the public were not returned to the county; 1,593 people tried to vote at the wrong polling place; 6,000 new resident ballots went out; and 1,550 persons tried to vote on November 6 who were not registered at all.

The SOS's press statement also reminded voters that those who cast a "conditional provisional" ballot because they had insufficient ID at the polls have until the end of the business day Wednesday to show up with proper ID at sites approved by their county elections office.

Those in Maricopa County should go to one of the locations listed on the county website: http://recorder.maricopa.gov/pdf/IDVerifSites.pdf.

The SOS website has a widget that allows you to check on the status of your early or provisional ballot.

According to Reed, the provisional ballots will be processed after all of the early votes are tabulated.

Though today was a county holiday, elections workers spent the day processing ballots, as they have a Friday deadline to make. (SOS Bennett has suggested that the deadline might be extended, if necessary.)

And now, for your daily updates on the races we all care about, only one of which now seems to be too close for comfort.

ARPAIO 594,216 51.36 PENZONE 510,614 44.14 STAUFFER 52,046 4.5

Sheriff Joe Arpaio's lead over defeated Democrat Paul Penzone was little changed. He's now 83,602 votes ahead of Penzone, a 7.2 percent spread.

CARMONA 912,776 45.74 FLAKE 992,323 49.72

Similarly, the Camona-Flake U.S. Senate race remains stagnant, with Congressman Flake topping the former U.S. Surgeon General by 79,547 votes, or 3.98 percent.

PARKER 98,006 45.24 SINEMA 104,506 48.24

In CD 9, Teabagger Vernon Parker today formally conceded to "Prada socialist" Kyrsten Sinema, after Sinema's lead widened to 6,500 votes, or 3 points.

MCSALLY 134,348 49.81 BARBER 134,860 50.00

And if Democrat Ron Barber can maintain his razor-thin lead (512 votes) over Republican Martha McSally in CD 2, then Arizona's U.S. House delegation will be blue by one seat, five Dems to four Rs.

Let's hear it for redistricting, people.

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