Top Maricopa County election official blasts critics upset over slow ballot counting: ‘Offensive’

A top Maricopa County election official blasted critics who are frustrated over slow ballot counting that remains ongoing days after Election Day.

Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, for example, has condemned the slow process as “an embarrassment.” She admitted in an interview that she has “very little faith” in Maricopa County election officials, whom she described as “incompetent,” and pledged to reform the ballot-counting process if she wins election.

On Thursday, Maricopa County supervisor Bill Gates pushed back, suggesting that demands for expediency are “offensive.”

“Quite frankly it’s offensive for Kari Lake to say that these people behind me are slow-rolling this when they’re working 14 to 18 hours,” he said. “So I really hope this is the end of that now. We can be patient and respect the results when they come out.”

Gates, who has said the process will not conclude until sometime next week, also responded on Friday to criticism from the Republican National Committee.

In conjunction with the Republican Party of Arizona, the RNC released a statement saying this election “exposed deep flaws in Maricopa County’s election administration.” Arizona voters “deserve better — transparency, certainty, and efficiency — and most importantly, an accurate and prompt announcement of election results,” the statement added, threatening to take legal action to ensure the election outcome is lawfully decided.

Instead of publicly blasting Maricopa County, Gates — himself a Republican election lawyer — said the RNC should express their concerns directly.

“I would prefer that if there are concerns that they have, that they communicate those to us here. I’m a Republican. Three of my colleagues on the board are Republicans. Raise these issues with us and discuss them with us, as opposed to making these baseless claims,” he said.

“They’re hyping up the rhetoric here, which is exactly what we don’t need to do,” Gates added.

Responding to concerns over the delay ballot counting, Gates said Arizona law is to blame and, on average, it takes between 10 to 12 days to count all ballots in Maricopa County, the second-largest voting precinct in America.

Gates estimated there are 275,000 ballots left to count in Maricopa County.

Still, the highly contested Senate race between Sen. Mark Kelly (D) and Republican Blake Masters was called on Friday. Kelly won by more than 120,000 votes.

For the governors race, Democrat Katie Hobbs leads Lake by about 30,000 votes with just 83% of the vote counted.