Volunteers, one representing each party, work in pairs to analyze ballots that have discrepancies and determine by consensus the vote at the Maricopa County Recorders Office where votes in the general election are being counted, in Phoenix, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-MIlls) Election 2020 Vote Count Arizona
Volunteers, one representing each party, work in pairs to analyze ballots that have discrepancies and determine by consensus the vote at the Maricopa County Recorders Office where votes in the general election are being counted, in Phoenix, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-MIlls)

Voters have until 5 p.m. today to ensure their vote is counted.

Maricopa County officials and local activist groups were scrambling Tuesday to verify the signature on more than 2,000 early ballots cast in last week’s elections that had been flagged as questionable by elections workers.

Voters have until 5 p.m. to verify their ballots. 

Election workers review all ballots to verify that the signature on the ballot matches the one the county has on file. Matches are counted, but those that don’t match up are flagged and then reviewed again by two managers.

If they determine the signature is inconsistent, the county starts ballot “curing” by attempting to contact the voter using the phone and email address on their voter registration to verify whether the signature in question is legitimate.

Under state law, voters with a questionable signature have five business days after Election Day to fix and re-submit their ballot. Election officials stated in planning documents that they aimed to have 99% counted and reported by the deadline. 

Local activist groups have also stepped up to ensure all votes are counted. Phoenix-based non-profit PODER in Action spent the last few days attempting to contact voters in their community that had their signatures questioned. 

Executive Director Viri Hernandez said dozens of people in the Phoenix neighborhood of Maryvale had their ballot rejected due to signature issues. Many weren’t aware there was a problem with their ballots, according to Hernandez.

She said this can often be attributed to a gap in language as volunteers or outreach messages aren’t always bilingual. The neighborhood is more than 75% Hispanic.

PODER volunteers go door-to-door to try to contact those whose ballots were flagged. They’ll then stay with the person as they call the county to verify it really is their signature. The process can be tedious, and Hernandez said it took them an average of more than two hours to contact 10 voters. 

Maryvale was among a number of communities that saw record-breaking voter turnout this year. Hernandez said she saw people “go above and beyond” to make sure their vote was heard in an election muddied by COVID-19.

“We want to make sure that those who did participate—especially those voting for the first time—that this isn’t going to discourage them from voting again,” she said. 

Maricopa County elections officials said all ballots verified by the 5 p.m. deadline will be counted.


Voters can check the status of their ballot by visiting the County Recorder’s website. Those who need to verify their signature will then be prompted with a phone number to call or contact the County Recorder’s office.


Continue Reading: A Timeline of Arizona’s Long History of Early Voting