ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona Senate, fairgrounds reach agreement to extend rental for audit

May 12, 2021, 9:32 PM | Updated: 10:58 pm
Arizona Senate audit of the 2020 Maricopa County election. (KTAR News photo/Peter Samore)...
Arizona Senate audit of the 2020 Maricopa County election. (KTAR News photo/Peter Samore)
(KTAR News photo/Peter Samore)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Senate’s audit of the 2.1 million ballots from the 2020 election results in Maricopa County will continue at the state fairgrounds past Friday, with the ballots being stored on-site while high school graduations take place next week.

In an agreement between the state fair board and the Arizona Senate obtained by CNN, the lease of Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the audit will be extended from May 14 to June 30.

The audit will pause on Friday for high school graduations already scheduled to use the space and resume on May 23, according to the agreement signed by fair board Executive Director Wanell Costello and Republican Senate President Karen Fann on Wednesday.

Ballots and equipment in the meantime will be stored in the Wesley Bolin Building on the fairgrounds.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs expressed concern over the pause, with a letter by her legal counsel Tuesday saying the Senate has not disclosed any policies or procedures related to the secure moving or secure storage of the ballots.

Former Arizona Secretary of State and liaison of the audit Ken Bennett told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday that himself, others on the audit liaison team, volunteers and paid staff would be responsible for securing and moving the ballots and machines to the temporary location.

He said the ballots and machines would be heavily guarded by active law enforcement officers who are at the facility on their off-duty days, adding the Arizona Rangers have been providing some of the security as well as other private security companies.

Bennett estimated Wednesday that about 400,000 ballots have been counted since the audit began on April 23, but he’s confident the audit will be completed when the extended time is up.

“We’re going through a pallet a day right now and when we come back and twice as many tables are operating, I think we’ll go through two pallets a day and there’s 28 pallets remaining,” Bennett said. “That’s 14 days.”

Repeated reviews of the election results in Maricopa County found no issues that would overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona over former President Donald Trump, which Biden won by 45,109 votes in Maricopa County and by 10,457 in the state.

The audit can’t overturn the results of the election, but Fann and Republicans in the chamber say the audit will help restore voter confidence and help lawmakers create changes to election laws.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Peter Samore and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Irene Luevano, 37, was last seen at a bar near 27th Avenue and Camelback Road  in Phoenix with her ...
KTAR.com

Phoenix police find car of missing 37-year-old woman

Police said Tuesday they found the vehicle of a Phoenix woman who was reported missing by her family days ago.
7 hours ago
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)...
Associated Press

Sanders says he may support Sinema challenger in Arizona primary

Sen. Bernie Sanders suggested Tuesday that he'd support primary challengers against Democratic colleagues Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, further intensifying a political battle within the party.
7 hours ago
(File Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)...
KTAR.com

Maricopa community colleges get $17.1M from cannabis tax in first year of legality

Taxes from the sale of recreational cannabis during the first year of legality in Arizona resulted in millions of dollars for local community colleges, officials said Tuesday.
7 hours ago
Hualapai tribal dancers. (File Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)...
KTAR.com

2 Arizona tribes to receive $1.6M in latest round of US tribal housing grants

Two tribes in northern Arizona will receive $1.6 million in federal grants as part of COVID-19 relief efforts, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Tuesday.
7 hours ago
(Facebook photo/Phoenix Zoo)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix Zoo to host extra night of ZooLights for adults on Thursday

Adults can go through the Phoenix Zoo's annual ZooLights holiday display one final time on Thursday before the experience is turned off until next winter. 
7 hours ago
(Petrified Forest National Park Photo)...
KTAR.com

Skull of extinct crocodile-like reptile to be on display at Arizona museum

People will soon be able to get a look at the skull of a crocodile-like reptile that lived in Arizona millions of years ago.
7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Arizona State University

This is the best year to get your MBA

Getting a master’s degree is a major commitment of time, energy, and money, so returning to school — even if you’re thinking about a part-time program that allows you to keep working — is one of the biggest decisions of your career.
...
ENVOQUE MD

Thyroid issues: Here are the warning signs and what to do

In a 100-person office in the United States, an estimated 12 co-workers, employees and loved ones, will likely develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. That’s because, according to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12% of the U.S. population will experience thyroid issues.
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 27: Wide receivers John Brown #12 and Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona C...
Arizona Department of Gaming

The most memorable games in Arizona sports history every fan needs to know

Sports teams in Arizona have seen their fair share of instant classic games, but there's a few that every fan needs to know.
Arizona Senate, fairgrounds reach agreement to extend rental for audit