Maricopa County election audit could last weeks longer than anticipated, has ‘no deadline’

PHOENIX — The Arizona Senate-ordered recount of practically 2.1 million Maricopa County common election ballots could stretch past May 14, which is when it initially was estimated to conclude.

Senate audit liaison and former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett stated Saturday there was “no deadline” for the audit and that the recount might must be paused May 14, when Veterans Memorial Coliseum is reserved to host a number of Phoenix excessive colleges’ graduations.

The audit, headquartered on the coliseum on the state fairgrounds, would resume a few week later, Bennett stated, including that the Senate has talked with state honest officers and has permission to make use of the house “for as long as we need it” after the graduations.

The backpedaling comes simply days after Bennett instructed reporters he was assured employees would wrap up by May 14, and regardless of plans to extend the variety of poll counters and shifts beginning May 3.

Bennett could supply no estimate on the variety of ballots recounted as of Saturday.

Time-intensive course of

Hand counters reviewed ballots at about 20 tables on Saturday.

One of the tables of 5 individuals — one particular person inserting every poll on a turnstyle, three individuals counting and one particular person eradicating every poll — counted about 50 ballots in 12 minutes.

The downtime earlier than counting extra ballots started was about 10-12 minutes. The subsequent batch of about 50 ballots took about 16 minutes to get by means of.

So it took about 40 minutes for that individual desk to get by means of 100 ballots.

A view of the election recount flooring on the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix on Saturday, May 1, 2001.

Bennett stated staffing from temp businesses must be in place to up that to 46 counting tables on May 3, which might extra than double the variety of counters from 60 to 138 per shift. Instead of two shifts per day, counters would fill three shifts, Bennett stated.

Bennett declined to estimate how lengthy it would take to finish the recount as soon as they get to that staffing stage. “We have as much time as we need to do it right,” he stated.

Election audit: Experts call for federal monitors, citing violations of voting laws

The full audit features a hand depend of the presidential race and U.S. Senate race on practically 2.1 million ballots, an evaluation of voter info and an audit of the county’s voting know-how.

The Arizona Democratic Party and County Supervisor Steve Gallardo filed a lawsuit to cease the recount pushed by Republican senators, saying it violated election legal guidelines and lacked protections to safe the ballots in addition to voter privateness.

While the audit continues, a Superior Court decide ordered the non-public contractors overseeing the audit for the Senate to disclose its policies and procedures.

Two observers from the state Secretary of State’s Office have been on the ground watching the method on Saturday.

Unknown donors placing cash towards audit

The Republican-controlled state Senate employed Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based know-how firm with no identified expertise in election audits, to supervise the county audit.

Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, who has a history of posting unsubstantiated claims of election fraud online, initially stated he anticipated the hand depend to take 16 days and to supply a full report in 60 days.

Nonpartisan election auditing experts had instructed The Arizona Republic the timeframe and price ticket have been unrealistic.

Harri Hursti, an information safety professional, hacker and the founding accomplice of Nordic Innovation Labs, stated state election audits he was concerned with in California and Ohio had narrower scopes, price $2 million every and took about three months.

Regarding the Arizona Senate’s audit, Hursti stated, “You can’t provide a quality, thorough study with those working hours and that cost.”

The Senate is paying Cyber Ninjas $150,000 in taxpayer cash, though unknown donors are also placing cash towards the audit.

Logan has stated the audit would price extra than $150,000, however he has refused to reply how rather more or who would fund it.

A brand new private organization recently sprouted up seeking $2.8 million to pay for the method. FundTheAudit.com says it already has raised $1 million however doesn’t checklist the donors.

Prominent supporters of former President Donald Trump are also fundraising for the audit.

Christina Bobb, former Trump administration official and present broadcaster for the far-right One America News Network, and former Trump legal professional Sidney Powell have solicited donations from their followers.

Republic reporters Jen Fifield, Andrew Oxford and Maria Polletta contributed to this text.

Reach reporter Taylor Seely at tseely@arizonarepublic.com or 480-476-6116. Follow her on Twitter @taylorseely95 or Instagram @taylor.azc.

This article initially appeared on Arizona Republic: Maricopa County election audit has ‘no deadline’

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