- 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.
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 Cyber Ninjas — 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 week barred him from entering the 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.
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 “rigged,” reportedly ended up with a different number of total ballots cast.
Speaking to James T. Harris, host of “The Conservative Circus,” 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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