Republican audits of Arizona’s election results got off to a chaotic start as journalists denied access

Authorities will unlock the truck on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at the Phoenix State Trade Fair before dropping the election equipment into the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  (AP)

Authorities will unlock the truck on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at the Phoenix State Trade Fair before dropping the election equipment into the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (AP)

A Republican Audit Arizona2020 Election results We are off to a chaotic start with procedural disputes, proceedings and journalists being denied access to report on their efforts.

Audits that are enthusiastically supported Donald TrumpWas launched in response to false allegations of fraudulent elections promoted by the former president and his supporters.

The state legislature audit team did not seek permission and tried to prevent multiple reporters from attending the press conference. Reported by Arizona Miller.

Reporters invited to a press conference by a Florida-based public relations firm were allowed to attend the briefing, but were informed about the event by the State Senate Audit Liaison Officer and former Republican Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett. Was blocked by the door.

All reporters were later allowed to attend the briefing, but the mood was controversial.

Bennett said: Discussing and asking me about it doesn’t change anything about it. “

On Wednesday, it was announced that the reporter would need to register as an observer and work 30 hours to cover the audit. After that, it was changed to a 6-hour shift, but the reporter was not able to bring a notepad or take a picture. Bennett argued that the arena being audited did not have enough space to accommodate reporters.There are 14,870 in the arena seat..

“We talked for hours about how to prevent the camera from zooming in on ballots and all sorts of things. The best way to allow reporters is to put them in an observer corps and immediately after that you I came to the conclusion that it was to write the story, “Bennet said. According to Pinal Central.

He said they would hold a press conference every afternoon. The county election office allows reporters to take pictures and record the process.

The press worked together to provide access to reports on the post-shutout process. Attorney David Bodney wrote to Bennett and Senate Chair Karen Fan on behalf of the media: ..

“It also violates the First Amendment, which requires members of the press to be granted access to report on these public procedures.”

All 2.1 million votes in Maricopa County had a bad start on Friday morning, and the recounting process seems to have been resolved on the spot. Republic report, The Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum has undergone some important changes during the day.

The changes include the ink pen colors allowed in the audit space because you can use blue ink to change the ballot. The method of tracking ballots after they have been removed from safe storage has also changed. This can mean a CoC update. The way counters and observes are communicated throughout the process has also changed.

The recount was requested by the Arizona Senate Republicans to investigate voters’ unsubstantiated allegations of fraud or error. Election authorities and courts have found no reason to benefit these claims. Washington post report.

The start of Friday’s count was delayed by checking computer software and confirming that participants were being trained.

The counter passed 150 votes by 1 pm but was still in the first box. Megan Gilbertson, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Elections Bureau, said: Republic Some boxes do not contain ballots, but there are 1,691 boxes to pass through.

Senate Arizona only rented recount space until May 14, and auditors aren’t just counting ballots. They are also trying to check the voting machine and see the voter information.

Democratic Maricopa County supervisor Steve Gallardo filed a proceeding late Thursday night trying to stop the recount.

The judge ordered a suspension over the weekend, but the count went on after Democrats refused to pay $ 1 million. To cover the delay.

Bennett said he saw ways to improve on the audit floor, but added that he wasn’t in charge. He said the Senate-hired group Cyber ​​Ninja, along with their contractors, would determine how the audit would be carried out.

Friday, Democratic lawyer Roopali Desai Said Judge: “The Senate told us that they are performing this so-called audit. They have a duty to fraudulent actors who are ridiculing with full respect for our election laws and procedures. Has been completely abandoned and there is no proper safeguard. No proper training. No steps. Nothing. “

The Senate managed ballots and voting machines after months of fighting with the Maricopa County Supervisory Board. Multiple audits of ballots in the county have already been completed and none of them seemed to indicate a problem.

The problem that arose during the day was that the Senate contractor programmed the software in the belief that it would process a certain number of ballots in each box, but Gilbertson said that only early votes were sent in batches. He said ballots for election days would not be sent. The number of votes for each batch is different.

According to Arizona election law, ballot counters cannot bring black or blue pens, but when they arrived at the counting area on Friday, blue and red pens were at each counter location.

Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber ​​Ninjas, removed the blue pen after being asked a question. The Arizona Republic.

Logan said before the audit that he did not confirm that each count board had a bipartisan representative, as did the party-run Maricopa County hand-counting practice.

Each vote was reviewed by three people. Sometimes they yelled out who they would vote for, and sometimes they compared the number of ballots they counted.

State law requires counting to be done individually and should not be compared until the end of each batch.

Bennett also had problems with how ballot boxes were tracked after they left storage. He said there should be someone to sign off the box when it reaches the table and at every step of the count. The final decision on the changes made was unclear.

Some observers were told to leave and the group was informed that they needed to be on the premises by 7:30 am, but could not enter until after 8 am.

Republic Those who manage the gate to the count location reported that the observer sign-up software was disabled by Google, leading to the loss of some of the volunteers’ names.

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