Newsmax at the Arizona Recount: Official Defends Process, Purpose Former Secretary of State Ken Bennett (second from left) works to move ballots from the 2020 general election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 1, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)
By Solange Reyner | Tuesday, 11 May 2021 09:13 PM
Ken Bennett, Senate liaison for the recount of Maricopa County ballots and former Arizona Secretary of State, says the election audit is a way to ensure that voters know that their elections had integrity and transparency.
“We just feel it’s important to verify everything that we can verify, the authenticity of the ballots, Were all the envelopes that should have been signed by voters who sent them in signed? Were the ballots mailed back and forth folded? Were all the votes counted on the face of that ballot?” Bennett said Tuesday during an appearance on Newsmax TV’s “American Agenda.”
“We have over 33,000 ballots where the machines didn’t count any votes for president and the difference between the winner and the loser was about 10,000, so we want to make sure every vote was counted correctly and that all the other things are in order.”
Bennett said contractors hired to conduct the audit were approaching about one-third of 1 million ballots but still “have a long way to go.”
The process started on April 23 after the state Senate took possession of 2.1 million ballots and nearly 400 election machines and turned them over to Cyber Ninjas, the company leading the recount and audit.
“We’re picking up speed. The counters are counting on the floor every day. There’s two five-hour shifts. But they’re also evaluating the ballots, make sure the indentations made when people filled the ovals were made by a human, handheld device rather than a Xerox machine. There’s also another contractor doing all the evaluation of all the machines to make sure that nothing was hooked up to the internet that the appropriate software versions were being used that there’s no evidence of foul play inside the machines. And then a third part of the audit is kind of doing some spot checking of voter registration information to make sure that 82 people aren’t voting from one address or 15 from a bacon lodge or something like that.”
“The focus is kind of what’s happening on the coliseum floor, which is the hand recount. We’ve never hand counted 2.1 million ballots in Arizona’s history. And so that is a pretty big deal. But we think that this is an important part of how to make sure people know that their elections had transparency, their elections had integrity, that there was transparency.”
The process is about 2.5 weeks in but will pause next week for high school graduations. Bennett said he isn’t concerned about securing ballots during the break because they will be locked in cages and constantly live streamed.
“We have all the bases covered and we believe that when all is said and done that we will have a very comprehensive and transparent report,” he added.
Bennett also said he came into the process without an opinion on the presidential outcome.
“I came in knowing that this was the closest pre-presidential election race that has occurred in the state of Arizona, less than 3/10 of 1 percent separated the winner from the loser. When you have an election that close, we just feel it’s important to verify everything we can verify.”
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