Arizona Election Auditor Extends Lease Again, Months Later

Arizona Senate Republican Very partisan and controversial A ballot review extended the lease this week as well, adding at least two weeks to the already delayed operations.

Contractor led by cyber security company Cyber ​​Ninja, Ken Bennett, an Arizona Senate auditor liaison, said last week he planned to put together a review and end it remotely. But on Thursday, he said the auditor decided to look for more time to review the ballots and machines directly.

“The hand count is complete, but in my opinion the audit has just begun,” Bennett told NBC News that reviewers had recently obtained documents that seemed important to the count. ..

Arizona’s election results have been audited many times by the states and counties since November 3, and the system has been found to be accurate and secure. President Joe Biden won the state with about 10,000 votes. However, in December, Republicans in the State Senate took the unusual step of going to court to manage county ballots and voting machines. The first review then submitted material to a third-party contractor with little election experience, stating that Republican leaders would regain confidence in the election and help lawmakers develop new election legislation. It was started. The so-called “audit” has been criticized by experts as an unruly amateur effort with unreliable results.

On Thursday, Bennett said the contractor began reviewing documents that track duplicate ballots that are damaged or unreadable in the schedule. The record was obtained through a request for public information by AUDIT USA, a group that supports Arizona’s activities, he said.

Bennett predicted that the duplicate ballot logs were “probably notoriously called the Blue Sheet,” and complained that the county did not provide them along with other subpoena election materials.

“These documents are important for understanding the number of ballots taken from almost every batch and sent to duplicates, and therefore should be taken into account when describing all ballots.” He told NBC News on Thursday. Veterans Memorial Coliseum, a state trade fair arena that housed audits for the past few months.

Maricopa County Elections spokesman Megan Gilbertson said the legislature did not summon the log detailed in the 17-page technical document prepared for the legislature. Claim Election materials, among other things, were missing ballots.

Asked for details on the request for public information, Gilbertson said AUDIT USA requested materials from the county on June 11. The county fulfilled them on June 14.

Barry Burden, professor and principal of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Election Research CenterThe latest extension is “another sign that cyber ninjas are holding their heads and don’t really have the experience or qualifications to do the reviews they’re doing,” he said. It was.

The burden was a recent co-author report It sharply criticized the Arizona audit process.

A copy of the ballot is “a normal part of the process known to polling place workers and election managers,” Baden said Thursday night, when the audit reviewed the logs two months after the review. He added that he was worried that he was just there.

Audits will not continue at the State Fair Ground Veterans Memorial Coliseum Arena in the last few months.That space is Reportedly Booked for another event in July. Instead, contractors are moving about 2.1 million ballots and hundreds of election machines to another location at the trade fair, Wesley Borinville.

The space is “not recommended for use from May to September” According to the venue But Bennett said a “wetland cooler” would keep the space cool enough.

Bennett said the log sheet and ballot signature reviews will continue as the audit takes place in the new space. He also said he hopes the Senate will agree to contract with another company for the independent aggregation of ballot images.

“There’s also talk about some other tasks that provide good data points to compare,” he said, refusing to explain further.

The third extension is the latest in the review process, marked by procedural failures, repeated delays, and overdue. The audit was scheduled to end in mid-May, but recounting hands took longer than expected, forcing contractors to temporarily move out of the arena for their planned high school graduation. .. During the temporary break, ballots were also housed in Wesley Borinville. The auditor was then scheduled to return to the arena and pack up on Wednesday, June 30th.

The burden warned that the new space poses another risk. He said the wetland cooler acts like a humidifier and can damage ballots and look different from other ballots.

“Drag the ballot back and forth between climates and the paper will change,” he said.

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