The uncertainty regarding the outcome of the presidential election in Arizona continued into Wednesday night as it was revealed that there are still 515,000 votes to be counted in the state.
Only Fox News and the Associated Press have so far called Arizona’s eleven electoral college seats for Joe Biden with the New York Times and CNN among the major news organization believing the race still too close to call.
It comes as it was revealed that a data feed informing media organizations of the voting tally in the state was incorrectly showing that 98 percent of its votes had been counted for a period on Wednesday morning, casting further skepticism on the early calls.
Trump’s campaign remain confident that he will win Arizona once all votes are counted
Pictured, an election worker scans a ballot while processing votes in Arizona. The uncertainty regarding the outcome of the presidential election in Arizona continued into Wednesday night as it was revealed that there are still 515,000 votes to be counted in the state
In fact, only 86 percent had been tallied at the time, leaving hundreds of thousands more votes still to be taken into account.
Edison Research data incorrectly displayed the percentage of votes counted for a brief period before being rectified, according to The Hill.
The error was noted by New York Times editor Patrick LaForge, whose publication has shown a Biden lead throughout Wednesday but do not believe that his victory is yet certain.
‘An error was found in the data feed from Edison Research (used by @nytimes and other news organizations) for Arizona results — 86 percent of ballots have been counted, not 98 percent,’ LaForge wrote.
Edison Research data incorrectly displayed the percentage of votes counted for a brief period before being rectified, stating that 98% of Arizona’s votes had been counted
On Wednesday night, Biden’s lead in Arizona shrunk to about 13,000 votes after an update from Maricopa County showed Trump netting 13,644 more votes.
Maricopa is the largest county in Arizona, home to Phoenix and 62 percent of the state’s 7.28 million residents. A candidate cannot win the state without it.
But he results coming out of Marciopa will not help the president’s cause. Biden leads in Maricopa County by approximately 85,000 votes. Marciopa will release another round of results later Wednesday night.
Fox News was the first, and initially the only, news organization to call Arizona for Biden on Tuesday night and they were quickly criticized by the Trump campaign for doing so.
The Associated Press has since also declared Biden the winner but they and Fox remain an unlikely duo in standing their ground with the decision.
The call was the first of the states that appeared to have flipped from red to blue, marking a major loss for the Trump campaign in this must-win state if it were accurate.
Yet the Trump campaign has argued that the voting is not yet over, dismissing the call and predicting that the president will eventually win by some 30,000 votes once all ballots are counted.
‘@FoxNews is a complete outlier in calling Arizona, and other media outlets should not follow suit,’ fumed Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller on Tuesday night.
‘There are still 1M+ Election Day votes out there waiting to be counted – we pushed our people to vote on Election Day, but now Fox News is trying to invalidate their votes!
Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller fumed at Fox’s call on Tuesday night
Arizona’s governor Doug Ducey also called the network’s decision premature
‘We believe over 2/3 of those outstanding Election Day voters are going to be for Trump. Can’t believe Fox was so anxious to pull the trigger here after taking so long to call Florida. Wow,’ he continued.
‘Retract AZ!’ added Republican National Committee spokesperson Liz Harrington.
Arizona’s governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, also pushed back at the Fox News result calling it ‘far too early’ to have declared Biden the winner in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
STATES STILL IN PLAY
Fox and the AP gave Arizona to Biden before dawn on Wednesday.
On Wednesday afternoon, officials said that there were still 600,000 votes left to be counted which suggested that it could be put back in play.
The AP is standing by its call, saying the outstanding votes are in Biden strongholds that will not flip back to Trump.
With 80% of the expected vote counted, Biden was ahead by 5 percentage points, with a roughly 130,000-vote lead over Trump with about 2.6 million ballots counted.
‘The remaining ballots left to be counted, including mail-in votes in Maricopa County, where Biden performed strongly, were not enough for Trump to catch up to the former vice president,’ they said.
Some are reluctant to give it over to Biden. He is currently only leading there by 90,000 votes. The majority of the outstanding votes are in Maricopa County, where he performs better than Trump, and are mail-in ballots, which he also tends to do better in.
‘Election Day votes are not fully reported, and we haven’t even started to count early ballots dropped off at the polls. In AZ, we protected Election Day. Let’s count the votes—all the votes—before making declarations.’
Trump himself was enraged by the call and rang Rupert Murdoch in a fury on Tuesday night, according to reports.
A source told Vanity Fair that Trump phoned Murdoch, who owns Fox, ‘to scream about the call and demand a retraction’.
The 89-year-old media mogul refused to order his staff to retract the Arizona call.
Even within Fox, the Arizona announcement allegedly angered staff, Vanity Fair reports.
‘We called it long before MSNBC!’ one outraged staffer on the opinion side told the magazine.
‘We were so worried about being seen as pro-Trump that we bent over backwards.’
And on air, the hosts questioned the decision desk for the call.
‘The Trump campaign is, how shall I put this, livid about the fact that Arizona was called,’ Fox White House correspondent John Roberts reported around 12:20am Wednesday morning.
‘Frankly, there have been public calls for Fox to pull back that call. I’ll leave that to the decision desk, but that’s what the Trump campaign is saying.’
Yet those behind the decision have defended the call and maintained they were right to call the race for Biden when they did.
‘We’re four standard deviations from being wrong,’ Arnon Mishkin, director of the Fox News Decision Desk, said of the network’s statistical model. ‘And, I’m sorry, we’re not wrong in this particular case.’
He also acknowledged that there were outstanding votes to be counted in the state but that they were mainly in areas in which Biden was performing well, according to Politico.
‘I’m sorry, the president is not going to be able to take over and win enough votes to eliminate that seven point lead’ Mishkin added.
Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt also defended the decision on-air stating that the remaining mail-in ballots would sway heavily in Biden’s favor. ‘
The Associated Press stated they also made the call for this reasons.
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Trump took Arizona in 2016 by a margin of 3.5 percent. A Biden victory in the state would make him the first Democrat to win Arizona since Bill Clinton in 1996.
Top Trump campaign officials are predicting he will still win but have also floated the idea of contesting the results.
They have not indicated what action they would take after calling for a recount in Wisconsin and filing lawsuits over vote counting in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia.
As it stands, Biden needs both Arizona and Nevada to win the presidency with between 615,000 and 630,000 ballots still to be counted as of Wednesday evening.
The former Vice President currently leads Trump by around 93,000 votes statewide, winning 51 percent of the vote with around 86 percent of the votes counted.
In order to win the state, Trump would need to win approximately 58 percent of the remaining votes.
Of the votes left to be counted, two-thirds are from Maricopa County where Biden already leads by 85,000 votes.
Pictured, Arizona continues to count ballots into Wednesday night
Maricopa County elections officials and observers watch as ballots are tallied on Wednesday. Around two-thirds of the remaining votes in the state are from this county
Pictured, Pima County, Arizona’s second most populous county, counted about 10,000 of its remaining ballots Wednesday. There are still over 600,000 votes to be counted statewid
The district includes the city of Phoenix with data showing that a win in the county gives a high possibility of winning the state.
However, Trump won the county four years ago, with 49 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s 46 percent.
Officials say that there are still between 428,000 and 446,000 ballots to count in the county, including 248,000 mail ballots that were returned in the last three days before the election.
They also include between 160,000 and 180,000 mail ballots returned on Election Day and 18,000 provisional ballots, according to the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office.
Trump may contest the validity of the mail-in ballots as he has in other states.
Joe Biden needs Arizona and Nevada to win the presidency
On Tuesday, false stories were circulating among right-wing social media accounts that votes cast for Trump were not counted in Maricopa County because voters used Sharpie pens.
Dubbed ‘Sharpiegate’ by conservatives on social media, the allegations could be used to try to undermine election results in the historically Republican state.
County officials were trying to inform voters that Sharpies did not interfere with ballots.
New vote totals are expected to emerge from Arizona through Wednesday night, as CNN reported that Trump supporters were beginning to congregate outside of the counting center.
An update at 9pm EST in Maricopa County showed Biden with a five-point lead, narrowing Biden’s lead to less than 3 points statewide.
The update took 80,000 off the number of votes to be counted.
There are still around 46,000 ballots to count in Pima County and 18,000 in Yuma County. Many of the votes still to be counted are districts trending toward Biden.
State officials have given no indication of when final results will be available.