Trump shrinks Arizona gap to 30K votes with 173K left to count

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Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs on Friday night announced that 173,000 ballots remain to be counted in Arizona after President Trump narrowed Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s lead in the swing state to fewer than 30,000 votes.

Of the uncounted votes, 47,000 provisional ballots cast in-person won’t be reviewed until Wednesday, Hobbs said in an interview with CNN, potentially prolonging uncertainty over the election’s result.

Trump narrowed Biden’s Arizona advantage by about 7,000 votes — shrinking his deficit to 29,861 — late Friday when Maricopa County officials disclosed results from about 69,000 additional absentee ballots.

Of the 173,000 ballots that remain, about 126,000 are non-provisional ballots, Hobbs said, The majority of those, 92,000, are from Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix.

Trump’s campaign insists the president can win Arizona, which he carried in 2016. But The Associated Press and Fox News declared the state for Biden on election night and stand by the projection, even though his lead has narrowed.

Hobbs, a Democrat, told CNN that the remaining non-provisional ballots should be counted “by tomorrow if not Sunday,” but that the provisional ballots may delay determining a winner for the state’s 11 electoral votes.

“We can’t count [provisional ballots] until Tuesday because counties have five business days to resolve those,” she said. “[There are] 47,000 provisional ballots which we will count Wednesday and not all of those will actually end up being counted.”

Provisional ballots are cast in person at voting booths, but aren’t included in initial counts for a variety of issues, including a person not presenting a valid ID or voting at the wrong location, Hobbs said. If improper identification is displayed, voters must return with proper documents, she said.

“Provisional ballots tend to skew Democratic… if you look at Arizona’s history,” Hobbs said. “[But] nothing in terms of voting patterns has gone according to what we’ve seen in the past.”

The promising news for Trump in Arizona came as Biden pulled further ahead in other unresolved swing states Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Biden now leads by 27,174 votes in Pennsylvania, 22,657 votes in Nevada and 4,020 votes in Georgia. If those leads hold, Trump could win Arizona and still lose re-election.

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