Top Arizona Elections Official Cautions Against Calling Races

November 4, 2020 Updated: November 9, 2020

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs warned against early calls for races as the state continued to count a large number of ballots.

“I was 44,000 votes down and now I’m secretary of state. That took 10 days,” Hobbs, a Democrat, told KTAR News on Wednesday morning, citing her own election victory.

“I don’t have the job of calling races … but there are still hundreds of thousands of ballots left to count in Arizona, primarily in Maricopa County, so I think that I would advise caution in terms of celebrating victories right now,” Hobbs added.

The Associated Press declared former Vice President Joe Biden the winner in Arizona at 2:50 a.m. on Wednesday, when 20 percent of the expected votes had yet to be counted. The AP argued that there were not enough remaining ballots for President Donald Trump to catch up. Other race callers, including Decision Desk HQ, had not declared a winner as of 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon that Arizonans who voted deserve to have their voices “heard fairly and accurately.”

“Arizonans turned out in historic numbers for this election, and we owe it to them to count their votes. The results have shifted greatly hour by hour, and from last night until today,” Ducey said in a statement. “With hundreds of thousands of votes still outstanding, it’s important that we be patient before declaring any races up or down the ballot.”

Hobbs said 250,000 ballots were still uncounted in Maricopa County.

“Those are early ballots that were dropped off [Tuesday] or received Monday,” Hobbs said.

Counties in Arizona have five days to verify provisional ballots and cure signature mismatches, Hobbs added. Each county has up to 20 days after the election to finalize results.

“Nothing is official until our office signs off on the canvass at the end of November,” Hobbs said. “What I’m focused on is making sure that we get it right. And that does take time.”

A senior Trump campaign adviser earlier on Wednesday projected a narrow victory for the president in Arizona, a state that some race-callers had handed to Biden in the early hours of Nov. 4.

“Thorough breakdown, we believe [the president’s] win margin in AZ will be closer to 30K votes, probably just under that,” Jason Miller wrote on Twitter. “Keep in mind we’re now counting Election Day voters.”

Arizona is one of nine states that are still counting votes and could decide the outcome of the 2020 election. The Trump campaign announced on Wednesday that it would call for a recount in Wisconsin and file a lawsuit in Michigan to gain the access to counting facilities, which it is legally entitled to.

“We have filed suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted. We also demand to review those ballots which were opened and counted while we did not have meaningful access,” Bill Stepien, Trump 2020 campaign manager, said in a statement.

In addition to Arizona, no clear winner had been declared by 2 p.m. on Wednesday in Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Maine, and Alaska.

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