The election in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District will give the state its first congressional recount ever. The recount coming in less than a month will decide if Democratic incumbent Ron Barber loses his seat in Congress, where he represents Tucson and Cochise County. His campaign said the recount is critical because of the potential for human error in ballot counting. But Michael O’Neil, a political pollster in Tempe, said voting technology makes it unlikely there was a large enough human error to push Barber ahead of Republican Martha McSally. She declared victory Wednesday night with a 161-vote margin after all votes were counted. “It is very rare for machine-read ballots to show a different result when you go through the recount,” he said. Still, Barber isn’t conceding. “I am not going to concede until the election is certified and the recount is conducted,” he said. O’Neil said the margin of victory could change if a judge orders the state to count provisional ballots that were previously thrown out. Those are ballots that were cast at polling places but were questioned because the voters weren’t registered or were in the wrong polling place. Nearly 800 of those were not counted.
Early in the week, McSally challenged the viability of other ballots, saying they were not cast according to state law and should be voided. A judge denied her request, and she said she isn’t certain whether she will appeal. “We want to make sure that every vote is counted, but we uphold the law,” McSally said in an interview this week. “We’ve been providing oversight to this whole process.”
That’s similar to what Barberhas said: Every lawful vote should be counted. The difference may come in which votes are deemed lawful during the recount, should either candidate take legal action. Barber said Thursday he wasn’t certain whether he will initiate legal action.