Arizona audit: Senate liaison raises transparency concerns, threatens to quit

Ken Bennett, the former Arizona GOP secretary of state serving as the Arizona Senate Republicans’ liaison to an ongoing audit of ballots, raised concerns about the audit contractors’ lack of transparency in two radio interviews on Monday.

Bennett has been one of the public faces of the Arizona Senate GOP’s audit of Maricopa County’s election since it began in April, but he suggested on Monday that he might quit. Bennett’s comments came after he said he was blocked from entering the audit on Friday. 

“I cannot be a part of a process that I am kept out of critical aspects along the way that make the audit legitimate and have integrity when we produce the final report,” Bennett told conservative talk show host James Harris. “And unfortunately, there have been too many of those situations. And the tip of the iceberg kind of came out last Friday when I was denied access to the audit.”

Bennett said he was barred from entering the audit on Friday after he shared information about an ongoing third count of the total number of ballots cast in Maricopa County with an outside group of consultants. 

In an interview later Monday with KTAR, Bennett said that he’s still part of the audit, but cannot vouch for any final report if there is not enough transparency.

“I can only be a part of moving forward and vouching for the final product if there’s transparency in seeing the procedures and the things that are going to be used to build that final product,” Bennett said. “Do I have confidence that we can get a final product that’s good? Yes.”

Election 2020 Arizona Audit
Former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett talks about overseeing a 2020 election ballot audit ordered by the Republican-led Arizona Senate during a news conference on Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Phoenix.

Ross D. Franklin / AP

The controversial process began back in April after contractors hired by the Republican-led state Senate took control of Maricopa County’s 2.1 million ballots. The Senate hired several firms to conduct the audit. It is being led by Cyber Ninjas, whose founder has promoted election conspiracy theories. The process has been heavily criticized by election experts, election officials and Republican leaders in Maricopa County

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