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Arizona Senate's Controversial Election Recount Halfway Complete

Published: Tuesday, June 1, 2021 - 4:18pm

A partisan, hand recount of Maricopa County ballots cast last November is halfway complete, according to officials running the Arizona state Senate’s controversial election review.

The Senate audit’s official Twitter announced Monday that the recount had surpassed 50% of the nearly 2.1 million ballots from Maricopa County’s general election. The same account also announced that the firms running the recount were adding a third daily shift for counting, to help pick up the pace.

Ken Bennett, the liaison to the Senate Republicans who ordered the audit, confirmed the recount eclipsed the halfway point on Saturday.

But Bennett and audit spokesman Randy Pullen wouldn’t say how many ballots are now being counted each day — a departure from the near daily updates previously provided. Pullen called the daily count “confidential” information kept by Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based cybersecurity firm running the Senate’s operation.

The involvement of Cyber Ninjas, whose CEO has spread conspiracies of election fraud, continues to draw the scrutiny of Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and election experts, who warn the entire endeavor is tainted by bias and inexperience. The Arizona Mirror reported that other firms previously involved with state Senate Republicans’ audit have their own ties to the Stop the Steal movement.

The firms have until the end of June, when the Senate’s latest rental agreement at Veterans Memorial Coliseum expires, to finish the recount. While confident the work will be complete by then, Pullen said Tuesday he’ll have a better estimate of when the recount will be over by the end of the week.