Journalists gain access to Arizona election audit; about 2M ballots still to count

At the coliseum, the recount appeared to be operating smoothly./azaudit.org screenshot

By Jen Fifield | Arizona Republic

After days of silence, on Tuesday journalists got limited access inside the Veterans Memorial Coliseum where the Arizona Senate’s contractors are attempting to hand count all Maricopa County ballots cast in the November election.

Officials with Florida-based Cyber Ninjas, the private contractor leading the audit, were not present in the press area to answer questions, including how many of the nearly 2.1 million ballots have been reviewed since the audit got underway Friday. 

Ken Bennett, the Senate’s liaison for the audit, spoke to the media in a news conference outside the state Capitol for the first time since Friday, but he said he did not know how many ballots had been counted.

“I have an estimate of what the number is,” he told reporters, offering that just shy of 100,000 ballots had been tallied.

Bennett said he was confident the count could be completed before the Senate’s lease on the coliseum ends May 14.

“We’re on track to get the job done in the time that we have,” he said.

While there have been numerous concerns raised about the security of ballots and private voter information, Bennett said they were “making sure that everything is very secure.”

“There’s nothing happening there that would violate the identity of any voters or any privileged voter information,” he said.

At the coliseum, the recount appeared to be operating smoothly.

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