“I think the counting will be done by the end of this week,” former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a Republican, told reporters on Tuesday at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, where the audit is taking place.
The audit teams are shifting resources to ballot evaluation work, which includes “anything to do with the authenticity of the ballot,” Bennett said.
“Are there folds in the 1.9 million ballots that came in and out by mail? Are alignment marks on the fronts and the backs of the ballots aligning as authentic ballots should? Is there a depression in the oval where a human hand-held device would have filled in that oval as opposed to an inkjet printer or a Xerox machine or whatever you might think,” he added.
The ballot evaluation will take most of the rest of the month, according to Bennett, who is the Arizona Senate’s liaison for the audit.
Randy Pullen, a former chairman of the Arizona Republican Party who is also serving as a spokesman for the audit, told reporters earlier Tuesday that 1.6 million of the nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County in last year’s election had been counted.
The state Senate ordered the audit late last year amid concerns of election integrity. The audit started on April 23. The Senate has control of the Coliseum through June 30 to finish the audit, according to an agreement obtained by The Epoch Times.
More and more workers have been brought on in recent days to help plow through the work, and officials added a third shift that runs from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. every night.
After the audit work is completed, the auditors, led by Florida-based Cyber Ninjas, are going to produce a final report to the Senate. The report will be delivered one week after the other phases are completed, according to a scope of work document the firm gave to the Senate.
The audit is largely supported by Republicans, including the Arizona Republican Party, but has faced criticism from Democrats, who tried to halt the process in court earlier this year over security and privacy concerns.
A judge in late April ruled against the Arizona Democratic Party, saying they had not provided “substantive evidence of any breaches or threatened breaches of voter privacy.”
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who is running for governor, has said observers she sent to the audit have witnessed “problematic practices, changing policies, and security threats” that will render the audit findings “unreliable.” Bennett and other officials connected to the process have disputed the claims.