An audit of the 2020 presidential election results from Maricopa County, Arizona, which was one of multiple states where Joe Biden won by a narrow margin, resulting in objections from lawmakers based on evidence of fraud, is likely to be extended.
Originally the audit, being organized by Republicans in the state Senate, was to have concluded about May 14, as the process is being done at Veterans Memorial Coliseum and that facility has multiple graduation ceremonies booked starting on that date and for a few days following.
But now it has been revealed the process could continue after those events.
Ken Bennett, the former Arizona secretary of state who is liaison for the audit, said in a report in the Arizona Republic that the facility now has given permission to resume after those events, and for “as long as we need it” for the audit.
Democrats, who have sued to suppress the results, also say they may sue if the auditors go ahead with planned interviews with a selected number of voters, to complete the audit and gain evidence that voters are who they said they are.
The Washington Examiner reported that the process, which is to hand recount and verify all 2.1 million ballots, had reached the one-week mark but Bennett did not estimate the number of ballots already reviewed – or whether fraud has been discovered already.
Initially, Bennett had estimated that the audit report would be released within 60 days of the launch of the review.
The Senate, with a GOP majority, hired Cyber Ninjas of Florida to head the audit effort.
The number of counters being used also is being expanded, so this week there are expected to be 46 counting tables, up from 20, with a total of 138 counters per shift.
Also, the county election department said it was picking up some of the election machines that had been delivered to the audit under subpoena from the state Senate, as Bennett explained an IT company had finished capturing forensic information for those units.
Bennett explained, “All of the forensic data has been captured off of those machines, and now they’ll move into phase two, which is analyzing that data.”
The Arizona Democratic Party and Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, a Democrat, already have gone to court to try to suppress the work – after the Senate obtained court permission for the audit.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, has labeled the audit “a farce” because the county election department twice checked its own work earlier and said there were no irregularities.
Hobbs charged that a recount “observer” from her office claimed there were questions about the reliability of the audit.
However, Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward noted that the “observers” from Hobbs’ office included an election consultant for a Democrat operations organization and a lawyer with the far-left Brennan Center.
The operations organization, called Protect Democracy, also threatened it would take the recount to court again if auditors follow through on announced plans to knock on doors to confirm valid voters actually live at the stated addresses.
And the Brennan Center claimed, in a complaint to the Joe Biden Department of Justice, “We are very concerned that the auditors are engaged in ongoing and imminent violations of federal voting and election laws.”
Hobbs earlier made television appearances claiming that GOP officials are just doing the audit because party members “refuse to accept that … Trump lost Arizona and that he’s not the president anymore.”
Observers have noted that the results of the audit could trigger more audits in other states where the vote totals suddenly surged – almost exclusively for Joe Biden – in dark-of-the-night vote total updates. President Trump, on election night, had held significant leads in those states before the sudden vote total surges for Biden.