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Arizona's nationally-watched and incredibly tight Senate race between Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kristin Sinema may not have a declared victor until Thursday or even next week because, ironically, the state's voters like to cast their ballots early.

Election officials said it likely will be at least Thursday before unofficial vote tallies for the McSally-Sinema race are in, as officials have to count ballots from remaining precincts, provisional ballots and "late early" ballots - those that were dropped off at the polls.

Arizona's knock-down, all-out Senate race is heading into overtime, as a neck-and-neck contest between two congresswomen collides with Arizona's sometimes glacial vote-counting procedures.

Nearly 1 million votes were still outstanding as of early Wednesday, secretary of state Garrett Archer said, only half of which were going to get counted by the end of Election Day.

Most of the uncounted ballots are in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties.

The groups are challenging how Arizona counties verify signatures on mail-in ballots that come into the polls on Election Day, according to a complaint obtained by the Arizona Republic.

Republican groups in Arizona have filed suit against several of the state's county recorders and the secretary of state arguing that different standards are being applied to the counting of some mail-in ballots that were dropped off at polling locations. It says the two counties allow voters to help clear up signature problems up to five days after the election.

In those cases where the signature on file does not match the signature on the ballot, the county recorder may call the voter to verify if the person did in-fact sign the envelope containing the ballot.

"Most of those voters would have either chosen not to vote for either and if they didn't have that (Green Party) choice, they would have passed that race up on the ballot".

Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally.

Sinema tweeted that the "race is about you and we're going to make sure your vote is counted".

Candidates for Arizona's U.S Senate seat are only separated by one percentage point. The GOP has won every statewide race in Arizona over the past decade, and Democrats were hoping Sinema could break that streak.

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey was easily re-elected over a challenge from Democrat David Garcia, a college education professor.

As of 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sinema has 916,380 votes statewide, while McSally has 914,369. The GOP notched victories in the Attorney General, Treasurer and Secretary of State races as well.

The picture was more mixed in Congress, where Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick was elected to the Tucson-area swing district seat vacated by McSally.

McSally and Sinema have both remade themselves politically. At the moment, McSally has taken an unorthodox path to her roughly 16,000-vote lead as of the most recent tally. She has tried to rally Republican voters by emphasizing her military background as the first US female combat pilot while touting her support for the president's tax cut and other parts of his agenda.

The Green Party candidate, Angela Green, has 43,838 votes (2.31%).


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