By Jeremy Beren / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ
(Florence, Ariz.) — Seeing as primary elections are right around the corner, scores of Arizonans have already received their early ballots through the mail. But officials in Pinal County are sanctioning thousands of supplementary forms for residents in Casa Grande, Eloy, and other communities after errors were discovered on already-mailed ballots.
Pinal County election officials confirmed Friday that roughly 63,000 early ballots will have to be re-sent after residents lodged complaints about missing or inaccurate municipal races that were supposed to appear on their ballots. The mistake reportedly affected more than half of all early ballots mailed out.
The county said via statement that these errors are "human-caused." The gaffe is a significant one, affecting voters in Maricopa, Mammoth, and Superior — as well as the Pinal portions of Apache Junction and Queen Creek.
"Here at Pinal County, we strive for excellence, trust, and transparency, particularly when it comes to elections, and we recognize the significance of these errors," the statement read in part. "We wish to reassure voters and candidates that election integrity is our top priority and as such, we are taking immediate corrective action for voters in the affected areas."
The county explained that eligible voters will soon receive fresh ballots with the correct contests listed. The statement asked voters to keep the initial ballot to make their choices in the federal, state, and legislative positions up for grabs this year.
However, Apache Junction Mayor Chip Wilson explained he is worried because he knows residents who have already mailed back their ballots. Wilson also pointed out that many will view the timing with suspicion, given that Arizona has been a flashpoint for election conspiracy-theorizing since Joe Biden carried the state in the 2020 general election.
For example, Pinal legislator and Arizona Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem, a far-right Republican with tangible ties to the U.S. Capitol insurrection attempt last year, blamed current Secretary of State and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs for the early ballot mishap. Finchem, who has received a coveted endorsement from former president Donald Trump, is campaigning on "integrity without compromise" — though he firmly believes the 2020 election results were fraudulent.