A settlement was reached Tuesday afternoon in a challenge by a supporter of Republican congressional candidate Martha McSally to the counting of 130 provisional ballots in Cochise County.
The court case and settlement came as elections officials in Cochise and Pima counties continued to count the votes in the Congressional District 2 race. As of Tuesday afternoon, Democratic incumbent Ron Barber led by 829 votes with thousands left to be tallied.
Spokesmen for Barber, a Democrat, and for the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee said the settlement will allow the votes to be counted. Details weren't available.
"We are happy that Cochise County officials are going to be allowed to do their jobs and count these Southern Arizonans' votes," Jessica Floyd, Barber's campaign manager, said in an emailed statement. "We remain disappointed that Martha McSally's Republican attorneys attempted to insert themselves into the vote counting process, and we will be watching the process closely moving forward."
Daniel Scarpinato, spokesman for the Republican campaign committee, also issued a statement, saying, “Today’s outcome is a great victory for Southern Arizonans and the integrity of the election process. Every voter has the right to an election that is free of ballot tampering. With today’s outcome, all legally cast ballots will be counted while at the same time safeguarding the accuracy of the result.”
The request for a temporary restraining order came from William Odle, who said in his filing that he voted for McSally in Cochise County in her race against Democrat Ron Barber, the incumbent in Congressional District 2.
Odle's filing said the ballots in three precincts should be kept out of the count because they were sent to the county recorder's office in unsealed envelopes. Odle's court filing said that violates state law.
At a hearing Tuesday, Barber's campaign responded by saying there is no provision in state law requiring those votes be in sealed envelopes.
The law governing the handling of provisional ballots is Arizona Revised Statutes 16-584. The section makes no mention of sealed envelopes.