Sumner holds slight lead over Ellison for Greenlee County Sheriff but race still too close to call

Photo Courtesy Greenlee County: Greenlee County Sheriff Tim Sumner is holding a slight lead over challenger Eric Ellison, however that could change after early votes are finished being counted Thursday.

County still has 621 early ballots and additional provisional ballots to count

By Jon Johnson

GREENLEE COUNTY – As of 1 p.m. on Wednesday, the Greenlee County Election Department shows incumbent Sheriff Tim Sumner holding off challenger Eric Ellison by 32 votes.

The Greenlee County Election Department has finished verifying signatures on early and provisional ballots and will finish the count Thursday. According to Greenlee County Manager Derek Rapier, there are still 621 early/late ballots to be counted Thursday as well as a number of provisional ballots. They are called early/late ballots because they are ballots that were cast prior to the election but either arrived in the mail after the initial early vote counts or were dropped off at election vote centers on the day of the election. Provisional ballots are those that had some issues, such as a forgotten ID or bad signature, and had to be verified before counting.  

Contributed Photo: Eric Ellison

As of the update, Sumner has 1,049 votes compared to 1,017 for Ellison. Two other challengers include Democrat Larry Avila with 718 votes and Independent Jaime Aguilar with 260.

According to a breakdown, Ellison is taking the York/Sheldon precinct by 36 votes over Sumner, while Avila is capturing the Clifton precinct with 34 votes over Ellison. However, Sumner is capturing the Blue precinct with 10 out of 11 votes (Ellison with 1), the Eagle precinct with eight out of nine (Avila with one), has 50 more votes than Ellison in the Morenci district, and just edging Ellison by 17 votes in the Duncan district, so far.

With more than 621 ballots yet to be counted, the race for sheriff of Greenlee County is very much still open.