The mandatory recount in the Congressional District 2 House race saw Martha McSally pick up five votes in Pima County while incumbent Rep. Ron Barber picked up nine. A Maricopa County judge declared McSally the winner Wednesday. After the recount from Cochise County was figured in, McSally won the Nov. 4 election by 167 votes. Pima County Elections Director Brad Nelson said the recount included 21 additional ballots discovered in a sealed bag that had not been counted on election night for various reasons, including a malfunctioning scanner. Poll workers, however, didn’t indicate any issues when they returned the ballots to headquarters, he said. Several of those 21 ballots did not include votes in CD2.
The closest race of the 2014 midterm election cycle has finally been decided, with Republican Martha McSally defeating Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) after a protracted recount. In a statement, McSally thanked Barber for his service and said she’d seek his input on issues going forward. “There’s no getting around that this was an incredibly close and hard-fought race,” she said. “After what’s been a long campaign season, it’s time to come together and heal our community. That’s why my focus will be on what unites us, not what divides us, such as providing better economic opportunity for our families and ensuring our country and community are kept safe.” The victory for McSally, a former combat pilot in the U.S. Air Force, cements a dominant cycle for Republicans in which they picked up 13 seats in the House and gained a 247 to 188 advantage over Democrats. It’s their largest majority in the House since World War II. “Martha McSally has broken barriers her entire life, and I know she will continue to fight for the issues she is passionate about in Washington. From growing jobs to securing our border, Martha will be an effective and common-sense representative for Southern Arizona,” National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) said in a statement.
The results of a recount in the nation’s last undecided congressional race from the midterm elections are set to be revealed Wednesday by an Arizona judge in a move that will determine the size of the GOP majority in Washington. Republican challenger Martha McSally leads Democratic Rep. Ron Barber in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District by 161 votes, and the court hearing in Phoenix should settle the race after a recount and several court battles. A victory by McSally would give House Republicans their largest majority in 83 years, holding 247 seats to Democrats’ 188. Barber took office in 2012 after winning a special election to replace his former boss, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who stepped down after a 2011 shooting that wounded both her and Barber. Barber then won a full term in November 2012 after a narrow victory over McSally.
Southern Arizonans will find out Wednesday who will represent them in Congressional District 2. A mandatory recount was triggered because the tally separating incumbent Democrat Ron Barber from Martha McSally, his Republican challenger, in the November general election was less than 200 votes. After completing an electronic recount of all the ballots cast for each candidate last week, a hand count of a sample of ballots from five percent of the precincts — the last step in the two-week recount process — was completed Monday morning.
More than a month after the Nov. 4 election, Congressional District 2 voters will learn next week who will represent them in Congress. Pima County on Wednesday finished the electronic recount of polling place, early and provisional ballots, and will begin a hand count of 5 percent of precincts Monday. The results will be turned over to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office by 5 p.m. Tuesday, and Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper will declare the results at a 10 a.m. hearing Wednesday in Phoenix.
Pima and Cochise counties have finished the machine recount in the race between U.S. Rep. Ron Barber and likely winner Martha McSally, but there won’t be any results released until next week. First, a hand recount of random ballots will be performed Monday, and used to verify the accuracy of the machine count. Results from the counties must be submitted to state officials by 5 p.m. Tuesday. With McSally up by just 161 votes, a recount in the congressional race was automatic under Arizona law. Another look at the ballots is triggered when the margin is less than 200 votes. While Pima will perform the required hand count on Monday — done with randomly selected precincts and batches of early ballots — Cochise will tackle that task on Friday.
Republican Martha McSally is almost ensured of victory in the still undecided race with U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., experts say, but a few scenarios still give him a chance at keeping the seat. Officials begin today recounting ballots in southern Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District. Results are expected Dec. 16. McSally’s 161-vote lead, out of more than 219,000 cast, is so narrow that there are ways for Barber to win. And the cost to continue the fight in court would be relatively small for an election in which both sides have spent $20 million combined. “Recounts almost never change the result. … But being this close, it’s almost certain there will be a (lawsuit contesting it),” said Tom Irvine, a Phoenix election attorney. The most likely scenario: Barber sues because the recount differs from the general-election tally. Another possibility is his team finds election misconduct or other grounds to question the results. The most unlikely yet still possible option: Exploit a vague part of the U.S. Constitution to ask for a vote in the House of Representatives to decide which candidate is most qualified to serve — essentially beg Republican House Speaker John Boehner for mercy.
Yes, this is the campaign season that just won’t end. On Saturday, voters in Louisiana will gather, a month after most states voted, for a runoff for a U.S. Senate seat and some House races. But even then, it’s not over. Election officials in Arizona this week cranked up the machinery for a recount of one particularly close House seat that has Republican challenger Martha McSally 161 votes ahead of Democratic incumbent Ron Barber. The recount in the 2nd Congressional District race was required because the margin was fewer than 200 votes out of nearly 120,000 cast. Barber won the seat in the aftermath of tragedy. He was an aide to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in January 2011 when she was shot in the head in an assassination attempt. Barber was one of 12 people injured by gunfire that day. After his recovery and Giffords’ resignation, Barber won the seat in a June 2012 special election. In the 2012 general election, when he narrowly defeated McSally, Barber benefited from a heavily Democratic electorate; this year, he was fighting a Republican surge.
Republicans hoping to secure yet another House victory in their already substantial majority won in the 2014 midterm election are on edge as GOP candidate Martha McSally’s lead over incumbent Rep. Ron Barber has dwindled down to a mere 161 votes, a margin small enough to trigger an automatic recount. This will be the state’s first-ever congressional recount. Emerging from election night, McSally led Barber by a mere 36 votes. But technical difficulties later triggered a recount for early votes in Cochise County — a predominantly Republican area — that gave McSally a slightly greater lead.
The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to halt a recount in southern Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District race between Democratic incumbent Ron Barber and Republican challenger Martha McSally. The high court dismissed a special-action lawsuit filed by a group of voters challenging the state’s plan to use the same computer program it used in the regular ballot count. The justices said in a brief order that the voters could continue to try to challenge the recount rules in Superior Court. “I’m really disappointed,” said Tucson attorney Bill Risner, who filed suit on behalf of seven voters in Cochise and Pima counties and isn’t affiliated with either campaign. “Our courts in general, there’s a real hostility to democracy and getting involved in election stuff. This is a simple case, it’s highly important and they’re making a real mistake in terms of their job of not taking this case.” Risner said he was considering whether to start the case over in the lower court.
The state’s first-ever congressional recount begins this week in the nail-biter race between Republican Martha McSally and U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz. McSally leads by 161 votes out of more than 219,000 cast in southern Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, a margin so narrow it will trigger the recount once Secretary of State Ken Bennett certifies the canvass. He is scheduled to do so Monday. Barber sought to cut into McSally’s lead ahead of the recount by challenging election officials’ rejection of 133 ballots in Pima and Cochise counties. But on Thanksgiving Day, a Tucson federal judge denied the campaign’s request to count the ballots, a development that one expert says bolsters McSally’s likelihood of victory.
Despite Arizona’s progress in lowering the number of provisional ballots cast in the recent general election, results in several legislative and congressional races were again delayed because voters continue to drop off their early ballots at the polls. The number of early ballots left to count after this year’s Election Day dropped 38 percent compared with 2012. Experts and election officials attributed the decline to this year’s decreased turnout. The number of provisional ballots cast statewide, however, dropped by more than 60 percent compared with 2012, when Arizona was embarrassed on the national stage as record numbers of provisional and early ballots went uncounted for two weeks after the polls closed, leaving key races hanging in the balance. Election officials said there were fewer provisional ballots cast this year due to voter-education efforts by the state and Maricopa County, the county’s use of easier-to-notice yellow early ballots, and its new electronic poll books that helped lessen the number of provisional ballots cast in the wrong polling places.
The campaign for Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) lost a lawsuit it filed just days ago with a federal district court seeking to force two counties in Arizona to include the 133 ballots the campaign says were legally cast but have been erroneously disqualified. Cindy Jorgenson, a U.S. district court judge in Tucson, notified the Barber campaign of her ruling on Thanksgiving Day. “While we are disappointed in the court’s decision, we remain committed to ensuring that Southern Arizonans are able to trust the integrity of this election, and we thank the voters who not only took the time to vote in this election, but who came forward to ask that their voices be heard,” Barber campaign manager Kyle Quinn-Quesada said in a statement.
Arizona: Team Barber Gets Its Day in Court: Will Disqualified Ballots Get Back Into the Mix? | Tucson Weekly
Kevin Fink wants his vote counted. He dropped off his early ballot at a polling station on Election Day, just like plenty of other folks. But his ballot was disqualified because his modern-day signature didn’t match the one he put on a voter-registration card he filled out some dozen years ago. He remembers he got word from the Pima County Recorder’s Office: He had a day to get back to them or his vote wouldn’t be counted. He called a hotline number and left a message, but no one called him back. And then the deadline passed and his vote was tossed out. Fink is a partner and chef at the award-winning Zona 78, and while he’d love to say that the restaurant gets it right 100 percent of the time, he knows that mistakes get made. But given that the state is going to recount the ballots early next month, he wants to see his vote included in the mix. “I realize there are going to be problems, but when it’s so close like this, I thought it was really important to be able to sway the political situation here in Arizona,” Fink said. “The number one thing I hear from my generation is that it doesn’t really matter if you vote.”
The fight to count some, if not all, of the 479 rejected provisional ballots cast in Congressional District 2 continues here in Pima County, with all indications it is headed for the courtroom. Legal teams representing the Ron Barber and Martha McSally campaigns have flooded the Pima County Recorder’s Office, making more than two dozen requests for public documents. Attorneys are also calling those who cast provisional ballots, asking them to offer up their stories that led to their ballots being rejected, and to sign declarations, likely to be used in future legal proceedings. Both campaigns have refused to discuss their legal strategies. But the requests seem to have set the stage that both sides are at least preparing to file legal challenges in Pima County. The requests have created a near constant din in County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez’s offices as her staff moves boxes, shuffles paperwork and feeds copiers to comply with the mounting requests.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Barber filed suit in U.S. District Court Monday, seeking to count the ballots of 133 voters his campaign contends were disenfranchised in the congressional race against Republican Martha McSally. McSally has a razor-thin lead of 161 votes, out of more than 219,000 cast in the 2nd District race. A recount is scheduled for after Dec. 1, but it will be delayed if Barber’s legal challenge is heard by the courts. The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to stop the state from certifying the results of the election on Dec. 1, less than a week away. Rodd McLeod, a campaign consultant for Barber, said a time or place for the hearing has not been set. Pima and Cochise counties last week rejected calls from the Barber campaign to delay certifying votes in those counties and examine disputed ballots. Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett and the Pima and Cochise boards of supervisors are named in the suit, along with “all those acting in concert with them or under their direction.”
The Pima County Election Integrity Commission is concerned that state law might complicate the expected recount in Congressional District 2 next month. The commission fears complexities in the recount law could force Pima and Cochise counties to recount all 220,000 votes in the CD2 race by hand, although Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Matt Roberts said there are easier ways to comply with the law. A portion of the state’s election law requires that the ballot tabulating program used for the recount “differ” from the initial vote counting system. But the law is vague on what exact changes need to be made. Commissioner Bill Beard said the commission, which advises the Pima County Board of Supervisors, is in virgin territory in terms of the state’s first general election congressional recount. He said that while the commission is not making any recommendations, it is important that the supervisors be aware of the state law. Possible alternatives could include a recount by hand, Beard said. But Roberts said the law won’t require new machines or an army of election officials.
An attorney for Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) is raising the prospect of a long, drawn-out battle over control of his Tucson-area district, a seat once held by his former boss Gabby Giffords, as his contest with Republican Martha McSally looks increasingly likely to head to a recount. Kevin Hamilton, Barber’s legal counsel, said Wednesday that the campaign isn’t taking “anything off the table” in potentially challenging the outcome of the race when it’s certified next month. “There are lots of potential options. There is the ability to file an election contest under state law. There’s a recount that goes forward, and as we’ve seen in other states that can affect the outcome of the election,” he said. “There’s a range of options and we’re not taking anything off the table.”
Lawyers for U.S. Rep. Ron Barber asked Pima County on Tuesday to delay finalizing the canvass of the Nov. 4 election, with the campaign saying it had sworn statements from 132 voters that they were disenfranchised by poll-worker errors. Pima County rejected the request and finalized the canvass of votes at midday Tuesday. Barber, a Democrat, is locked in one of the closest elections in Arizona history with Republican challenger Martha McSally, whose lead in the race is a minuscule 161 votes out of more than 219,000 cast. If nothing changes, the race will head to Arizona’s first-ever general-election recount for Congress. A recount will not start before Dec. 1.
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.
U.S. Representative Ron Barber, an Arizona Democrat who was an aide to Gabrielle Giffords, faces a recount after his Republican challenger finished the race for a congressional border district with 161 votes ahead of him. Tea Party favorite Martha McSally claimed a razor-thin victory over Barber, who was struck by gunfire alongside Giffords in the 2011 shooting rampage that killed six people and injured 13 outside a suburban Tucson supermarket. But Arizona law requires an automatic recount because the final tally in the Second Congressional District left the two candidates separated by less than 0.1 percent of the total, in this case fewer than 200 votes after the Nov. 4 election.
Retired Col. Martha E. McSally, a Republican, retained a small lead over Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., Wednesday, as initial ballot-counting ended in the 2nd District. McSally leads Barber by 161 votes, according to a local affiliate. As a result, the race will automatically go into a recount because it is within a 200-vote margin mandated by Arizona law. The Associated Press has not yet called the race in McSally’s favor, but the Republican claimed victory on Wednesday night. “All ballots are now counted and the voters have made their choice,” McSally said in a statement. “After nearly three years, some twenty million dollars in ads, and two campaigns, it’s time to come together. We are united in our love for Southern Arizona.” “I thank Congressman Barber for being willing to stand up and serve as he has,” she added. “While we still have a recount to go, we expect similar results and will provide the necessary oversight to ensure accurate results.” The Barber camp did not concede.
A recount in the Congressional District 2 race most likely will take place, but not until at least December at the earliest. The 133-vote gap between Democrat Ron Barber and Martha McSally is small enough to trigger an automatic recount according to state law, but Secretary of State Ken Bennett won’t ask a judge for a recount until after the statewide results are certified next month. The Pima County Board of Supervisors is expected to canvass election results next week, but Bennett is not expected to certify those results until Dec. 1, when he signs off on all the races on this year’s ballot. Once the results are official and show less than a 200-vote margin, Bennett will present them to a judge in Maricopa County Superior Court, who will be asked to order the recount.
Arizona could be headed toward its first congressional recount ever, as Republican challenger Martha McSally’s lead over incumbent Democratic Rep. Ron Barber dwindled to only 179 votes Monday. A mandatory recount will occur if either candidate wins the race by fewer than 200 votes. There are still about 6,000 provisional votes left to count in Pima County, although not all of those votes will be in Barber and McSally’s 2nd Congressional District race. There are another 150 early ballots still to be processed and 300 “conditional provisionals” where a voter showed up to the polling place with no identification, said Pima County Registrar of Voters Chris Roads. Both candidates have started fundraising for legal bills for a potential recount, which election observers and campaign officials increasingly see as a possibility. “We’re down into Florida 2000 territory with this,” said Tempe pollster Michael O’Neil, referring to the historic standoff in the presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore. “With a margin potentially in the two digits.”
Arizona: Judge Denies Team McSally’s Motion, Allows Vote Count To Continue in Hotly Contested Race | Tucson Weekly
A Pima County Superior Court judge has denied an effort by Republican Martha McSally’s congressional campaign to stop counting a group of ballots in Democratic precincts in her hotly contested race against Democratic incumbent Ron Barber. Superior Court Judge James Marner said that he would not issue a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction to stop the count of provisional ballots that were missing a signature from a poll worker. The race remains extremely tight, with McSally leading Barber by 341 votes. County officials say there are an estimated 9,300 provisional ballot awaiting tabulation in Pima County, where Barber ran ahead of McSally. An unknown number are in Congressional District 2. Pima County Election Director Brad Nelson said ballot counting would resume this afternoon but he did not expect the complete the count of the provisional ballots. Lawyers for both campaigns, as well as a deputy county attorney, were in court this morning to debate whether the questioned ballots should be set aside until a substantive argument could be made as to whether they are valid.
Ron Barber and Martha McSally may find out Monday which of them will represent Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District in the next Congress. Outcome of the too-close-to-call race will hinge on two factors: Pima County completing its count of early, duplicate and provisional ballots; whether the Republican McSally pursues a legal challenge that her lawyer brought up Sunday. The count, including several hundred votes posted Sunday, showed McSally with a 341-vote lead, or 0.16 percent. An estimated 9,000 Pima County provisional ballots and an unknown but likely much smaller number of ballots in Cochise County remained to be counted. Pima County officials were processing provisional and duplicate ballots all weekend and said they will count the ballots Monday with results expected in the afternoon. That could complete the count leading to declaration of a winner. That is, unless McSally’s campaign pursues a legal challenge it raised over provisional ballots Sunday.
Republican challenger Martha McSally grabbed a 36-vote lead overnight against Democratic incumbent Rep. Ron Barber in the rematch of a congressional race decided by less than one percent of the vote in 2012. McSally trailed Rep. Barber after the initial early ballot numbers from Congressional District 2 were released Tuesday night. But those numbers did not include early ballots from Cochise County, the conservative portion of District 2 McSally won with 59 percent of the vote in 2012. Late Tuesday night the Cochise County elections website posted this message: “Due to technical difficulties the early ballot counting machine did not match the hand count. Therefore, early ballots are in the process of being delivered to Graham County where they will be counted by their equipment.”
The election may have ended almost two weeks ago, but in Arizona, it goes on. Perhaps it’s fitting for a state with its own time zone, but as of last night, there remained over 100,000 uncounted votes in the state’s two largest counties, leaving election officials unable to officially certify the results of a number of the state’s high profile races, including the Senate race, several House contests, and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reelection bid. Friday was the deadline for counties to finish counting ballots, but the state blew past it yesterday when Maricopa, which contains Phoenix, and Pima County, which contains Tucson, said they needed more time. In most cases, the margins are the large enough by this point that candidates have declared victory or conceded defeat, even if the results aren’t official. And late Friday night, the Arizona Republic newspaper declared Democrat Ron Barber the winner in the highest profile race outstanding, the one to replace Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords. That contest had been too close to call for over 10 days, with fewer than 1,000 votes separating Barber from Republican Martha McSally, but the remaining outstanding ballots come from heavily Democratic areas so the paper was able to project Barber’s victory.
An agreement reached Tuesday at least temporarily resolves a dispute over 130 provisional ballots that could prove decisive in Arizona’s last undecided congressional race. A lawsuit filed on behalf of a voter who supported Republican challenger Martha McSally had sought to block counting results from the 130 ballots, alleging that they were mishandled by Cochise County elections workers who did not seal them in envelopes.
Monday morning, a day most government employees were off for Veterans Day, Cochise County elections staff and volunteers were gearing up to continue the process of checking around 6,600 ballots yet to be tabulated. According to Juanita Murray, elections office director, that number includes the 2,300 provisional ballots that had been verified over the weekend by staff at the Recorder’s Office. The rest are early ballots.