Keerthi Vedantam

Monday, Sept. 12, 2016

Biggs wins Republican primary in CD 5 but awaits possible recount

PHOENIX – The Republican primary election that places Andy Biggs as the winner by 16 votes in Congressional District 5 was officially confirmed Monday by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, but that doesn’t mean the race is over.

The supervisors voted to accept the canvass of the Aug. 30 primary, setting the stage for the Secretary of State’s office to decide whether to trigger an automatic recount. State law requires it if the vote separation is less than one-tenth of 1 percent.

“Yes, every vote matters. Let that be a message to every voter out there,” Supervisor Clint Hickman said before the vote.

The sliver of votes that separate Biggs and Jones, who are battling for a win in a district left open by the retiring Matt Salmon, are part of a continuing drama over possible voter disenfranchisement.

A Superior Court judge Friday ordered 18 provisional ballots to be counted in the election after county poll workers did not properly inform those voters their provisional ballots would not be counted because they were submitted at the wrong polling place.

If the election is too close after the Secretary of State canvases the 15 precincts, the race will go to an automatic recount.

“And if that happens today we plan to start tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.,” said Elizabeth Bartholomew, spokeswoman for the recorder’s office. “We have to first do a logic and accuracy test on the machines … and then we will start the recount.”

At recount would take two or three days.

Bartholomew said more training was needed to educate poll workers.

Jones made that point after the supervisors’ vote on Monday.

“What could be done is for poll workers to just say, ‘I can’t turn you away and I have to let you vote, but you need to understand you’re going to be voting the wrong ballot. You won’t have precinct-level candidates on your ballot and if you go to the other place, your vote will count.”

Biggs was not available for comment.

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