The Arizona Election Review enters a new phase as the ballot counting ends | Political news

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By JONATHAN J. COOPER and BOB CHRISTIE, Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) – Technology consultants hired by the Arizona Senate Republicans to investigate the 2020 elections have counted and photographed nearly 2.1 million ballots from Maricopa County.

A final report of the results is weeks to months away, said Ken Bennett, a former Republican secretary of state working on the effort. But the milestone marks the end of the most visible part of the unprecedented party election test, where teams of people recruited by supporters of former President Donald Trump worked dozens of pallets of ballot papers on the floor of a former basketball arena.

The GOP-led Senate ordered the examination after Trump supporters claimed without evidence that fraud resulted in his loss on the battlefield in Arizona and other states. The Republican-dominated Maricopa County’s board of directors has repeatedly said the election was fair and smooth.

The revision cannot change the election result. But it is being carefully watched by Trump and some of his most ardent supporters, who believe it will finally find evidence of fraud allegations. President Joe Biden narrowly won Arizona, a long-standing Republican stronghold that is steadily moving towards the center.

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“Audit update: paper review and counting completed today,” wrote the audit team in a post on Twitter. “Thanks to all of the great Arizona volunteers who made this audit possible!”

Election experts say the examiners are inexperienced, biased and use unreliable procedures, and their results are suspicious. To lead the exam, GOP Senate President Karen Fann hired Cyber ​​Ninjas, an obscure cybersecurity firm from Florida that had no election or exam experience prior to the 2020 elections. The company’s boss, Doug Logan, is a Trump supporter who has aggressively spread false narratives about election fraud.

Workers sitting at tables in brightly colored shirts watched as ballots swung past on a turntable, recording the results for the presidential and Senate competitions, the Democrats’ two successes in an Arizona election where Republicans were mostly different Won races. They also took high resolution photos of each ballot to assess the composition of the paper and pen markings, apparently to test conspiracy theories that fake ballot papers were inserted.

These efforts at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum have been completed. Bennett said, however, that other auditing work was ongoing, including evaluating data from voting servers and voting machines. He said he expected a final report by Labor Day, but it could come as early as late July.

“I think too much emphasis has been placed on the tasks going on here at the Coliseum, but these are not the only two tasks of the audit,” said Bennett.

Auditors will vacate the Colosseum by their lease expiration Wednesday night, Bennett said in a text message. He didn’t respond to questions about where the ballots were going and whether they would be returned to the county.

Observers working for Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs have documented a variety of security vulnerabilities, relocation procedures, and other issues, including sloppy protection of passwords and combinations on locks that control secured areas.

It’s also unclear who is paying for the exam, but several donation groups affiliated with Trump supporters claim they have raised millions of dollars in donations. The Senate signed a $ 150,000 deal with cyber ninjas that Logan has admitted is insufficient to cover the costs.

Fann said the review shouldn’t overturn the 2020 elections, but rather see if the laws need to be improved and build confidence in the elections. Logan says his personal views are irrelevant.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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