Arizona GOP Sues to Limit Mail-in Ballots in US Senate Race

US President Donald Trump

As of this morning, the Arizona Senate race remained too close to call but Republican Martha McSally held a narrow lead of about 17,000 votes.

As of a few minutes before 8 p.m. ET Thursday, Sinema held a slim lead with 49.1% of the vote, while McSally was right behind with 48.6% of the vote, with 83% of the vote reported, CNN results show.

If the signature on a ballot dropped off on Election Day does not match the signature on file for a voter, recorders in several Democrat-heavy counties - including Maricopa County and Pima County - call voters to verify that they signed the ballot for up to five days after the election.

In the complaint, lawyers for the Republicans claimed that the lawsuit was meant to ensure counties are following a uniform tabulation process on early ballots. Four group plaintiffs filed the suit last night, challenging the way counties have allowed voters to fix signature problems on mailed-in early ballots. That's because officials say they need the time to do things like verify the signatures on the outside of the envelopes of all those early ballots. It's unclear how many of these votes still remain outstanding, but the suit singles out the state's two biggest urban counties, the center of support for Sinema.

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While they wait, Sinema, the Democrat, and McSally, the Republican, are staying out of the public spotlight. The total votes counted reached more than 1.7 million as of Wednesday afternoon, including votes for the Green Party candidate who dropped out of the race last week.

A Superior Court judge said on Thursday that counties can keep tabulating these ballots, the Arizona Capitol Times reported, but another hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.

It's one window into the complexities of mail ballots and the so-called "late earlies" that arrive just before Election Day and regularly gum up the state's vote counting system.

She added: "We're confident tomorrow will bring more good news". The GOP has won every statewide race in Arizona over the past decade, and Democrats were hoping Sinema could break that streak. The GOP notched victories in the Attorney General, Treasurer and Secretary of State races as well.

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During her 2016 campaign to be re-elected to her Tucson area swing district House seat, McSally criticized Trump for attacking the parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq and for a videotape in which the future president bragged about sexually assaulting women.

The Senate contest was the marquee race, featuring two champion fundraisers who are no strangers to tight races.

The avid triathletes are battling over the seat vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican who decided not to run for re-election because he realized his criticism of President Donald Trump made it impossible for him to survive politically.

The situation could represent a cruel twist of fate for Sinema, who started her own political career running for the Arizona House of Representatives in 2002 as an independent affiliated with the Arizona Green Party.

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