“I think the counting will be done by the end of this week,” former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a Republican, told reporters on June 8 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, where the audit is taking place.
The audit teams are shifting resources to ballot evaluation work, including things “related to whether the ballot was authentic,” Bennett added to The Epoch Times.
“So there’s pictures of the ballots, we should find folds in the ones that were mailed in, which is the vast majority, I think 92 percent of them work by mail, so folds in the ballots for those that were sent by mail, there’s going to be a few at early voting locations that might be folded differently or not have holes in them. One of the microscopic cameras is looking for alignment marks and other things that are supposed to be aligned as far as the front and back of the ballot on an authentic ballot. Looking at the depression made in the oval when a handwritten writing instrument is used to fill out that oval as opposed to an inkjet or a Xerox machine making those marks, which obviously don’t want that happening,” he said.
The ballot evaluation will take most of the rest of the month, according to Bennett, who is the Arizona Senate’s liaison for the audit.
Randy Pullen, a former chairman of the Arizona Republican Party who is also serving as a spokesman for the audit, told reporters earlier on June 8 that 1.6 million of the nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County in last year’s election had been counted.
Auditors are also still reviewing data that was captured from election machines, including tabulators, Bennett told The Epoch Times. The Arizona Senate, meanwhile, is still considering whether to expand the audit to bring in a new firm that would examine ballot images and provide a third set of numbers to compare to the original tabulation and the dataset that the auditors come up with.
The state Senate ordered the audit late last year amid concerns of election integrity. The audit started on April 23. The Senate has control of the arena through June 30 to finish the audit, according to an agreement obtained by The Epoch Times.
More and more workers have been brought on in recent days to help plow through the work, and officials added a third shift that runs from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. every night.
After the audit work is completed, the auditors, led by Florida-based Cyber Ninjas, are going to produce a final report to the Senate. The report will be delivered one week after the other phases are completed, according to a scope of work document the firm gave to the Senate.
The audit is largely supported by Republicans, including the Arizona Republican Party, and has drawn lawmakers from other states for tours, but has faced criticism from Democrats, who tried to halt the process in court earlier this year over security and privacy concerns.
A judge in late April ruled against the Arizona Democratic Party, saying they had not provided “substantive evidence of any breaches or threatened breaches of voter privacy.”
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who is running for governor, has said observers she sent to the audit have witnessed “problematic practices, changing policies, and security threats” that will render the audit findings “unreliable.” Bennett and other officials connected to the process have disputed those claims.