A day after the election, County workers have over 6,000 mail-in ballots still to be counted, leaving final results more than a week away.
For the most part, the uncounted votes are mail-in ballots that were dropped off by voters the day of the election rather than sent in beforehand, said Coconino County Recorder Patty Hansen.
On Tuesday night, election staff were hard at work counting ballots until 1 a.m. Hansen said. Even so, the additional mail-in ballots likely won't be fully counted until Friday.
Then there are 250 provisional ballots still to be counted, she said. Those ballots are cast when a voter is unable to provide adequate ID at the polls. Such voters then have until Aug. 12 to visit the elections office and provide ID, at which time their ballot would be counted.
Even so, those 6,000 ballots are unlikely to change the results of any one race substantially. In her experience, Hansen said the percentage of votes a candidate or ballot measure receives stays fairly consistent throughout the count.
That may not be good news for Councilmember Jamie Whelan, who looks as though she won’t make it onto the general election ballot in the mayoral race.
Whelan received 28% of the vote. She said she would have loved to represent Flagstaff as mayor but understands that the voters may have made a different decision.
“It was the choice of 30% of voters,” Whelan said, referencing the 30% voter turnout in the primary. She added she is focusing on the work Flagstaff City Council will be doing as it returns from its July break.
With Whelan out, Paul Deasy (37%) and Charlie Odegaard (32%) will face off in the general. Both said given their performances in the primary, they felt confident going into November.
“I know we still have more to be counted, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be making it through the primary, so that’s a pretty good feeling,” Deasy said. “I’m looking forward to having a very cordial discussion about the issues as we move forward to the general (election).”
Deasy said the number of votes he received during the primary election speaks to how, for most residents, the status quo isn’t working. He said the primary showed residents want a mayor bringing innovative ideas and new ways of addressing issues.
On the other hand, Odegaard said the primary showed voters' appreciation and recognition of his service during the past three and a half years on the city council. Odegaard said during that time, he has cultivated the reputation of someone who gets things done and solves issues.
Odegaard also thanked voters for making their voices heard and specifically for approving propositions 434 and 435, which he called necessary decisions.
In the race for Legislative District 6, Wendy Rogers beat out longtime Senator Sylvia Allen for the Republican nomination with 15,420 votes compared to Allen’s 10,563. Rogers will face Democrat Felicia French, who was unchallenged in the primary.
In addition to the senators, each legislative district is also represented by two house members.
For Democrats in LD6, Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans, who was unopposed in the primary, received 19,259 votes. For the Republicans, former Rep. Brenda Barton garnered 14,368 votes while Rep. Walt Blackman received 20,646.
The two Republicans will face Evans and independent Art Babbott in the general election for the two available seats.
In Legislative District 7, Rep Myron Tsosie and Arlando Teller, both Democrats, will be challenged by Republicans David Peelman and Coconino County Supervisor Jim Parks.
For the senate, Democrat Jamescita Peshlakai is not facing any Republican challenger and was unopposed during the primary.
The future of CD1
When it comes to Congressional District 1, former Flagstaff City Councilmember Eva Putzova said although she lost in the Democratic primary to incumbent Rep Tom O’Halleran, her challenge showed that running as a progressive was possible in the district.
During the campaign, Putzova staked positions supporting the Green New Deal and Medicare for All while O’Halleran represented a much more moderate candidate.
Putzova said she doesn’t know if she will run again, but she said she will continue to work at getting a progressive candidate elected. And she said the fact her grassroots campaign received 41% of the vote shows how voters will welcome more progressives running for office.
In Coconino County, Putzova received nearly 200 more votes than O’Halleran.
“And despite the incumbent having all the advantages in the world, we were able to get 41% of the primary votes. And that was thanks to organizing people, making tons of calls to voters and what we have learned throughout the campaign is how to raise money to have the resources earlier in the process,” Putzova said. “We were not running against Tom O’Halleran, we were running against a whole system of institutions.”
For his part, O’Halleran thanked voters for their support and said he would continue to provide an independent voice representing the district in congress.
”I'm honored to have the opportunity to continue to represent Arizona's First District in Congress and to do even more to support families across our state as we battle this pandemic. I also want to acknowledge the hard work my opponent, her staff, and her supporters put into her campaign,” O’Halleran said in a statement.
O’Halleran will now face Republican Tiffany Shedd, who came out on top in both the district and Coconino County as she beat Nolan Reidhead in the primary.
“I am honored to be the Republican nominee for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. This victory is due to the tireless work of our incredible supporters,” Shedd said in a statement. “The people of Arizona’s 1st Congressional District deserve better than Tom O’Halleran putting Nancy Pelosi and the liberal Washington Democrat agenda ahead of Arizona.”
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