The hand recount of 2.1 million ballots from the 2020 Maricopa County election audits in Arizona has been completed an Arizona Senate spokesman confirmed on Monday.
Three boxes of Braille ballots, about 50 to 60 in total, were left to be counted along with large-type, overseas military and duplicated ballots but all others had gone through the process, which began April 23.
Ken Bennett, state Senate audit liaison, has said the end of the hand count wouldn’t immediately signal a final audit report.
Bennett said that process is to address questions such as “Are there folds in the 1.9 million ballots that came in and out by mail? Are alignment marks on the fronts and the backs of the ballot aligning as authentic ballots should? Is there a depression in the oval where a human hand-held device would have filled in that oval as opposed to an inkjet printer or a Xerox machine or whatever you might think?”
There are other parts of the audit that could potentially include a second tabulation of scanned images, but Bennett or others have not provided the details about what that may entail if it happens at all.
State Senate Republican leaders who ordered the audit hired Bennett, a former Arizona secretary of state, as their representative during the process. The only races being recounted are president and U.S. senator, seats Democrats narrowly won in the county and state.
The operations paused May 14 because of high school graduation ceremonies previously booked at the Coliseum and resumed 10 days later. Under a second lease deal, the building is available to the auditors through the end of June.
Fann has said the aim of the audit is to restore faith in the election system and find ways to improve Arizona’s voting laws, not to reverse the result of the election.
Bennett wouldn’t speculate about what changes might be made in response to the audit.
“Until a complete, comprehensive report is issued, we would not be able to entertain recommendations of what can Arizona do better,” he said last Tuesday.
The Associated Press and KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Peter Samore and Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.