GOP link to Arizona audit says he’s resigning, won’t be ‘rubber stamp’ on final report – Political News

Twitter recently suspended a number of audit accounts in favor of the election, including one that has been cited as the official page for the party ballot review

Former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett arrives at a press conference in Phoenix on April 22.

The Republican who acts as the liaison between the Arizona state Senate and the private company conducting a partisan ballot review said Wednesday that he intends to resign, citing his inability to endorse the final product.

Ken Bennett, a former Arizona secretary of state, said he made the decision after it became clear that he would not regain access to the Phoenix fairgrounds, where private company Cyber ​​Ninjas continues to vet millions of votes cast last November in the county. by Maricopa.

“Right now I’m the liaison in name only,” he told conservative radio host James Harris on Wednesday. “I don’t know if that makes me a LINO or what.”

Bennett, who has been the public face of the review, was first banned from the audit site on Friday after sharing some results with outside election experts, according to The Arizona Republic. Those experts told the newspaper that what they reviewed indicated that the auditors’ vote count was in line with the results reported by the county.

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“I have always tried to act as a man of integrity and honesty and I am sure that I do not succeed all the time, but I cannot put a rubber stamp on a product that prevents me from developing,” he added. he said Wednesday. “I am resigning today. I will publish a statement for the press later this morning.”

Arizona State Senate Speaker Karen Fann, a Republican, said in a statement to NBC News Wednesday that an in-place link is no longer needed because the vote tabulation is complete and the ballots will be returned to Maricopa County. Thursday.

“At this point, we do not need a Senate link on the site, as all the data collected will now be taken to the auditor labs for analysis,” she said. “After the auditors have submitted their preliminary report, Ken will be part of this process as the Senate’s authorized liaison. Ken and the entire Senate team will have full access to all basic audit data to verify their findings. Senate with auditor explicitly says that all data and findings collected from the entire audit are the property of the Arizona Senate. “

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Bennett suggested in a series of interviews earlier this week that he might resign because excluding him from ongoing proceedings would make him wary of signing a final report.

On Tuesday, Fann said it was “imperative that anyone working with the audit must comply with the rules of not disclosing unconfirmed information.”

But in that same statement, she said that Bennett “will participate and be a vital part of the draft and final reports to ensure his accuracy with his knowledge and contributions throughout the audit process.”

In his interview Wednesday, Bennett said he was “grateful” for Fann’s statement that he would play a role in writing the final report, “but I have to have access to the source data and everything that will be the basis for that final report. “

“I can’t just come in at the last minute and be asked to endorse something that I can’t be a part of in the build,” he said.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat critical of the audit, said in a statement that Bennett’s impending resignation “further illustrates the current problems with the false audit that has gone on too long.”

She added: “Prove what I have been saying from the beginning: this exercise lacks transparency and is being led by a group with no electoral or auditing experience.”

The audit is months late, although it appears that other avenues of investigation are being expanded.

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Fann and Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen authorized new subpoenas earlier this week, The Associated Press reported, requesting even more data from Maricopa County, as well as administrator-level access to Dominion Voting Systems voting machines. . The auditors initially required those passwords from the county; Dominion has said that it will not cooperate with companies that are not authorized by the US Election Assistance Commission.

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