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. 

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

FILE - Kari Lake, Arizona Republican candidate for governor, speaks to supporters at the Republican...
Associated Press

Lake seeks election records in suit against Arizona county

Kari Lake, the defeated Republican candidate for Arizona governor, has filed a public records lawsuit demanding Maricopa County hand over a variety of documents related to the election.
1 day ago
Carey Johnson and her son Fabian Swain are photographed wearing face masks in their Germantown, Md....
Associated Press

After a year, omicron still driving COVID surges and worries

A year after omicron began its assault on humanity, the ever-morphing coronavirus mutant drove COVID-19 case counts higher in many places just as Americans gathered for Thanksgiving.
1 day ago
(City of Mesa Photo)...

Merry Main Street with ice rink, other holiday activities returns to downtown Mesa

Mesa's annual Merry Main Street begins Friday and will offer multiple holiday activities for the whole family to enjoy each day through early January.
1 day ago
Joaquin Santiago Orozco (Mesa Police Department Photo)...

Mesa police involved in shooting with man who allegedly rammed them with vehicle

Mesa police were involved in a shooting with a man late Thursday night who allegedly rammed them with a vehicle after failing to stop for a civil traffic offense, authorities said.
1 day ago
Brian Hanrahan (Courtesy Photo)...

Silver Alert canceled after missing 78-year-old man found safe

A Silver Alert was canceled Friday after a missing 78-year-old man last seen in Phoenix was found safe, authorities said.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/City of Mesa, Arizona Government, Pexels Photo)...

Weekend guide: Here are the biggest events around metro Phoenix for Nov. 25-27

The holiday season is officially underway and there are plenty of events around the Valley this weekend to get into the festive mood.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Arizona Senate, fairgrounds reach agreement to extend rental for audit