BY ZACHARY STIEBER June 1, 2021 Updated: June 1, 2021
“Great election audit news! We surpassed counting 50 [percent] of the Maricopa ballots last week,” the Arizona Senate’s liaison for the audit announced in a statement.
Nearly 2.1 million ballots were cast last year in Maricopa County.
The progress on counting has quickened, with over 200,000 ballots counted since May 27.
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The audit, which started in April, includes reviewing the ballots in addition to machines used in the election. The audit was ordered by the Arizona Senate, which is controlled by Republicans. It is taking place at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. Auditors currently expect to be done by the end of June.
Former Arizona Republican Secretary of State Ken Bennett, the liaison for the audit, acts as the go-between for the Senate and the audit team.
Bennett’s team also announced Sunday that there will be a third shift added to the review as of June 1. Auditors have for weeks been trying to add another shift but had struggled to onboard enough people to fill the slots required to man a third shift.
Kelli Ward, chairwoman of the Arizona GOP, said the progress in the audit “is in large part due to more volunteer counters in place.
“Attacks on the audit have never waned. We can only expect them to continue and to ramp up considerably as we get closer to the end of ballot counting,” she said in a video statement.
Republicans generally support the audit while Democrats generally oppose it.
Democrats tried to block the process but a judge ruled against them saying they had not presented substantive proof of security and privacy allegations. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, has told Maricopa County not to use any machines that were audited in the future.
The ballot counting update came after officials said the Arizona Senate is considering hiring a California-based nonprofit to analyze ballot images in order to create a third set of numbers to compare to the original tabulation and the one that will come from the hand count at the coliseum.
Bennett told The Epoch Times that the firm, Citizens’ Oversight, was brought to the attention of the Senate by John Brakey, a Democrat who co-founded Audit USA and is working as Bennett’s assistant during the audit.
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