Arizona officials will continue tallying midterms votes through the weekend after a record number of ballots were dropped off at Maricopa County voting centers on Election Day, the Arizona Republic reported.
Maricopa County officials, who initially estimated they would complete the vote count by Friday, said they'll be working through the weekend, according to the Republic.
Statewide, about 570,000 ballots remained to be counted Thursday night, the outlet reported.
Arizona law gives election officials until Nov. 28 to finish.
The Republic noted that the surge in Maricopa drop-off ballots was fueled partly by Republicans, who were encouraged not to trust the mail or drop boxes with their votes.
In the 2020 election, Maricopa County became the focal point of possible election fraud that was alleged by former President Donald Trump and his supporters.
About 290,000 mail-in ballots were dropped off at Maricopa County vote centers on Tuesday – surpassing the record for drop-off ballots by 70%.
The number of drop-off ballots this year was 59% more than the 172,000 the county saw in 2020, election officials confirmed to the Republic.
Bill Gates, chair of Maricopa's Board of Supervisors, said Thursday afternoon that nearly 410,000 ballots remained to be counted. A few hours later, officials reported counting another 79,000 ballots.
"We have so many close races, that people are still paying attention to Maricopa County," Gates said.
Officials in Maricopa County, Arizona's most populated county, had tallied 1.2 million votes.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem, who campaigned partly on exposing election fraud, urged supporters to vote in person.
Lake on Thursday took to social media to express her frustration with Maricopa County election officials.
"It's simple. Stop dragging your feet & get Election Day ballot numbers out," she tweeted.
Gates, a Republican, said "it's offensive" for Lake or anyone else to accuse Maricopa County officials of intentionally taking their time in determining the results. He said election workers were putting in 14 to 18 hours daily.
As of Friday morning, Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., led Republican challenger Blake Masters 57.1% to 46.1% in the race for the U.S. Senate.
Lake trailed Democrat Katie Hobbs by nearly 27,000 votes, and Finchem trailed Democrat Adrian Fontes 52.72% to 47.28%.
Fontes, a former Maricopa County recorder, said Thursday the county was counting ballots much faster than when he was in office from 2017-2021.
"I am pretty impressed with the numbers," he said, AZ Central reported. "They are counting a hell of a lot of ballots this year."
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