The Arizona Senate’s 2020 election audit in Maricopa County is nearing the halfway point in its count of the 2.1 million ballots cast in the November contest.
Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, talked about the progress of the controversial review in a Memorial Day video posted to Twitter and addressed a report that the GOP-led legislature is considering yet another recount that goes beyond the current examination of ballots specifically for the Senate and presidential election.
“As for ‘America’s Audit,’ counting continues today, and the latest total has hit 1 million ballots evaluated and hand-counted. That’s in large part due to more volunteer counters in place, and that gets us to nearly 50% of the 2.1 million 2020 ballots cast in Maricopa County,” Ward said.
The audit, which is being led by firm Cyber Ninjas and has been taking place in Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix since April with a one-week break for high school graduations, is still expected to finish in late June, she added.
“We also know there has been additional discussion among the Arizona Senate and the auditors regarding the possibility of hiring a California-based election transparency group called Citizens Oversight to run an entirely electronic recount of digital images of ballots to count all votes cast for every single race on the county’s ballots. These totals could be used in every race to compare totals with official totals for Maricopa County and from the audit itself,” she said.
The decision will ultimately fall to Arizona State Senate President Karen Fann and her team, continued Ward, who also said that Fann and Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen would take the lead on communicating progress about the audit, removing that responsibility from Ken Bennett, a former Arizona secretary of state who was picked to be the Senate’s audit liaison.
Maricopa County officials and Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, have taken the lead in raising concerns about the process and security of the audit. Critics say that the results from two previous election machine audits, conducted for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, showed no irregularities in the county’s 2020 election. There was also a recount of a sample of ballots that did not turn up any problems. The audit began only after the Arizona Senate received a favorable ruling from a judge that found its subpoenas to be “legal and enforceable.”
Ward said that “attacks on the audit have never waned” and “we can only expect them to continue and ramp up considerably as we get closer to the end of ballot counting.”
The audit is being “undermined by through the distorted lens of the Democrats and their partners on the far Left and in the mainstream media,” she continued, listing out monikers such as “the bogus audit, the Republican audit, the fake audit, the fraudit, the right-wing inquisition.”
President Joe Biden won Arizona by more than 10,000 votes out of more than 3.3 million cast across the state. His lead of roughly 2 percentage points was due partly to his advantage in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, where the Democrat scored nearly 45,000 more votes than former President Donald Trump.
Fann has said the audit is not meant to overturn the results of the 2020 contest, although Trump has touted how he believes it will show “massive” election fraud. Instead, the Senate president insisted that the audit is meant to restore trust in the system and influence potential changes to the law.
Ward said such critics “are preparing for the worst of all scenarios for them, as if they know something we don’t.” However, she encouraged her listeners to ignore their complaints and promised that the audit is “proceeding responsibly, professionally, efficiently, effectively, and on time.”