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.”
Fink is among at least 133 people whose votes indeed did not count for various technical reasons—and whose ballots Congressman Ron Barber’s legal team is now trying to get back into the mix ahead of a December recount of the Congressional District 2 race. It’s a big deal: Barber, a Democrat who won Gabby Gifford’s former congressional seat after she stepped down in 2012, trails his Republican challenger, Martha McSally, by just 161 votes.
As Team Barber attorney Kevin J. Hamilton put it at a press conference earlier this week: “The voters cast their ballots in accordance with federal and state law, in some cases at the specific direction of poll workers, but their ballots weren’t counted. … If you do everything right, if you’re entitled to vote in this election, and you cast your ballot, that ballot ought to be counted.”