Politics Republican liaison to Arizona 'audit' says he might resign, saying there were 'serious issues' with Cyber Ninjas' process
FACT FOCUS: A false narrative of 74K extra votes in Arizona
Cyber Ninjas, the cybersecurity consulting firm hired by Arizona Senate Republicans to oversee a partisan review of the 2020 election, on Thursday pushed a false narrative that Maricopa County received thousands of mail-in ballots that had no record of being sent out to voters. The firm's CEO Doug Logan used the baseless claim to urge legislators to subpoena more records and canvass voters at home, grasping for evidence of fraud even as a hand count of a statistical sample of ballots and two post-election audits showed no proof of wrongdoing in Maricopa County’s election.
- Former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett accused Cyber Ninjas of withholding vital information.
- He said there were "serious issues" with Cyber Ninjas' vote tallying process.
- Bennett was barred from entering the site of the audit last week.
To date, the unconventional "audit" of votes in Maricopa County has been criticized by Arizona Democrats, local Republicans, and independent election experts. Now the person many thought was in charge of the process says he too is concerned about its legitimacy.
Breaking down the 2020 election audits still underway
While President Joe Biden secured a victory in the 2020 race more than nine months ago, some efforts to review how the election was handled are still underway. © Provided by Washington Examiner The ongoing or proposed reviews come against the backdrop of several GOP states pursuing changes to their election laws that Republicans say are necessary to restore trust in elections. However, Democrats say the basis of both the reviews and the voting reforms is a lie told by former President Donald Trump about the election being stolen — a claim with no evidence.Here is where 2020 election reviews stand now.
In an interview on Monday, former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett - the GOP-led state Senate's "lesion" to the ballot-counting process led by the private company- told a conservative talk show host that was "close to stepping down."
"I cannot be part of a process that I am kept out of," he said. "Critical aspects along the way that make the audit legitimate and have integrity when we produce the final report. And, unfortunately, there have been too many of those situations."
"I'm the liaison," he added, "and I think when people hear that word, they think, 'Okay, he's in charge of it.' But that has not been the case."
Bennett's remarks come after Cyber Ninjas last weekthe building on state fairgrounds where employees and volunteers continue to count ballots - months now into an audit following President Donald Trump's false claims of widespread election fraud.
Arizona GOP Audit Director Barred From Recount After Sharing Data Supporting Trump Loss
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann reportedly made the decision to block Ken Bennett from the building.The Arizona Republic reported on Friday evening that Ken Bennett, Arizona's former Secretary of State who has been described as the audit's "director," was barred from entering the building on the state fairgrounds where the audit is moving forward. The newspaper reported that Bennett had shared some of the audit data with outside experts showing that the ballot recount was tracking "very closely" with Maricopa County's certified results.
That came after Bennett shared data with two outside analysts that indicated Maricopa County's official, certified vote count was accurate.
The first count by Cyber Ninjas, whose founder, Doug Logan, appeared in a film that claims the 2020 election was "," reportedly ended up with a different number of total ballots cast.
Speaking to James T. Harris, host of "," Bennett he was concerned that "all the sudden there was talk of a third count to just verify the number of ballots that are here," a process he wanted to ensure "was independent of Cyber Ninjas."
The problems with the company's ballot-counting methods, he said, were apparent early on in the process, which started back in April. The figures added to the central database did not always match the tallies from those who counted the ballots, he suggested.
"There were serious issues in the aggregation spreadsheet, when the tally sheets would be carried over to the end of the room and entered into the spreadsheet," he said. Bennett said he had been told there had been improvements to address his concerns - but that, later, workers told them they had been instructed, "Don't share anything with Secretary Bennett."
Bennett did not respond to a request for comment. He told Harris that, after a phone call with state Senate President Karen Fann, he remains the chamber's audit representative. It is not clear for how long.
"I'm standing here on the precipice," he said Monday.
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Arizona Senate liaison granted 'full access' to Maricopa audit .
Ken Bennett will continue to serve as Arizona Senate liaison to the Maricopa County 2020 election audit after coming to an agreement that will allow him full access while a report is put together. © Ross D. Franklin/AP FILE - In this Thursday, April 22, 2021, file photo, former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett arrives at a news conference to talk about overseeing a 2020 election ballot audit. (AP Photo/Ross D.