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3 legal questions about your vote, answered

12 News interviews election officials to answer some of the most pressing questions about votes.

PHOENIX — Experts that 12 News talked to said Arizona's election law is pretty robust, and the chance for a legal challenge to Tuesday's election is slim. 

But there are three big legal questions about your votes.

Can any ballots still come in?


Under state law, ballots have to be physically in the possession of election officials by 7 p.m. on Election Day. There's a little wiggle room as long as you're in line to vote at 7 p.m. 

On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered the post office to sweep locations in 12 postal districts, including Arizona.

But Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said postal officials had already searched Arizona's postal locations in the previous weeks and there’s nothing there.

“So they were doing that every day and making sure that they were delivered to polling sites every day," Hobbs said. "All of the ballots that were in USPS possession for Arizona were received by counties yesterday."

When does the count have to end?

Just because they’re in hand doesn’t mean they have to be counted that day.

Paul Bender at the ASU College of Law said, according to state law, the election results have to be certified in 20 days.

And because all the votes had to be physically in hand Tuesday night, Bender said it probably won’t take that long.

“That’s not going to be a problem here," Bender said. "I think that’s going to be the biggest source of litigation in other states.”

Other states still have ballots in the mail and are legally allowed to count them under their state law. 

What if we find more ballots?

For the most part, they won’t be counted. It’s against state law.

Unless, Bender said, there was some accident or unforeseen situation.

“It’s a really interesting question," Bender said. 

"I don’t think there’s a clear answer to that. The way the law's set up you only count the ballots you have, but if you discover 1,000 ballots 10 days later I would think there’s a strong argument that you’ve got to count those.”