SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – Republican Mark Finchem remained optimistic in the hours following the polls closing on Tuesday as the early returns showed the Secretary of State hopeful underperforming against his Democratic Party rival, Adrian Fontes.
Arizona’s Trump-endorsed slate of candidates appeared to be losing at first, with State Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) trailing former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes in the Secretary of State’s race 41.8 percent to 58.2 percent. By midnight, 69 percent of precincts were tabulated.
Finchem, who, along with the other candidates, headlined an Arizona Republican Party election night event in Scottsdale, tweeted just before midnight, “There are huge batches of ballots still outstanding. The majority of the election day votes have not been posted yet. Same goes for the election day drop off ballots. We will win when it’s all counted up. People were still voting at 9 pm in Maricopa! Good night see you in the AM.”
There are huge batches of ballots still outstanding. The majority of the election day votes have not been posted yet. Same goes for the election day drop off ballots. We will win when it’s all counted up. People were still voting at 9 pm in Maricopa! Good night see you in the AM.
— Mark Finchem #JustFollowTheLaw VoteFinchem.com (@RealMarkFinchem) November 9, 2022
A spokesperson for the Arizona Republican Party announced at 11:30 p.m. that the latest round of ballots was coming in averaging 71 percent for GOP candidates.
This trend reflects the Republican penchant for voting in large numbers on election day. Many say the practice in recent years due to concerns about voter fraud.
Even though almost every poll leading into election day showed Fontes losing, Fontes appeared to dismiss the fact early results were skewed. He tweeted, “We feel good, we are optimistic, we look forward to more results. Count every vote!”
We feel good, we are optimistic, we look forward to more results. Count every vote! pic.twitter.com/AvInCHccXu
— Adrian Fontes (@Adrian_Fontes) November 9, 2022
Finchem ran on a platform championing election integrity, in contrast to Fontes, who was stopped by a judge from mass mailing ballots to voters who hadn’t requested them.
Twitter suspended Finchem’s account eight days before the election, apparently because he tweeted his speculation about whether President Joe Biden really won Arizona in 2020. However, tech billionaire Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter just three days prior, reversed the suspension.
Arizona voters are concerned that their ballots may not be counted due to some glitches around the state, primarily in Maricopa County in Republican-majority areas, that resulted in ballot tabulators malfunctioning. Many people reported waiting in line for up to two hours. Approximately 20 percent of polling locations in the county were affected.
Although Maricopa County Elections listed wait times on its website for polling locations, many of them were incorrect. One voter noted the site said there was no wait time at the Biltmore Fashion Park, but there were about 200 people in line, and it did not appear to be moving until about 2 p.m. When the information about that location was finally updated, it said there was merely a 10-minute wait time. Most of the polling sites listed claimed there were zero wait times.
A Republican attorney who acted as a poll observer told The Arizona Sun Times it appeared that some people who kept trying to run their ballots through over and over again finally gave up and left, never submitting them. He said he hoped they went and voted somewhere else.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.