Statement from Senate President Karen Fann
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"During the forming of the audit process, Ken Bennett offered his services as a liaison between the Senate and the auditors. As a past Arizona Secretary of State, Senate President and a family friend for decades, I couldn’t imagine anyone better for this position. Knowing the auditors were from out of state and would need someone to coordinate with the Senate, Maricopa County Supervisors and Elections department, and assist with the logistics in conducting an audit that is the first of its kind in the nation, he is an asset to everyone in the state.
At the July 15th Senate hearing, Mr. Bennett was the expert testifier in describing the problems the audit has encountered since the first day, due to internal problems at the Maricopa County Elections department. Lack of chain of custody, ballot boxes mismarked, duplicate ballots with no corresponding numbers as required by law, and ballots haphazardly stuffed into boxes, to only name a few of the problems encountered. Maricopa County continues to withhold vital information from the public and the auditors which has created additional costs, months of delays and a lack of transparency on their part. Instead of working with the Senate, our constituents, and the auditors, Maricopa County has engaged in a social media campaign to try to control the narrative, instead of providing the whole truth, facts and items required to be produced by the legal subpoenas.
The physical counting of the ballots and machines will be fully complete this week and returned to Maricopa County. Since Maricopa County has been less than cooperative, a question came up a few weeks ago about what happens if the audit numbers don’t match with Maricopa County’s numbers? Our attorney suggested the Senate perform an independent counting of each ballot paper prior to the ballots being returned. This has been accomplished under the direction and authority of the Senate by Randy Pullen, who is a retired auditor with a nationally renowned auditing firm.
This past week members of the media have asked why Mr. Bennett is not engaged in this part of the Senate ballot verification procedure. As Mr. Bennett was quoted in the media, “I shared some box counts of how many ballots were in each box, and that got leaked to the press and I apologized to Senate President Fann. I had promised that information would not be leaked to the press, but it indirectly got done, so that’s how I got barred from the audit".
The auditors are doing the job they were hired to do, albeit more difficult than originally planned due to Maricopa County withholding vital documents and information, which appears to be purposely withholding the truth from the voters. When any audit is complete, the results are explained with supporting documentation of proof to the client. It is irresponsible to disclose partial information to the media since they are not “confirmed” facts until the audit is final. This only leads to confusion and misinformation with the public. For that reason, it is imperative anyone working with the audit is required to adhere to the rules of not disclosing unconfirmed information.
With the completion of the “hands on" work this week, the auditors will now be doing the analysis of all the data collected to submit the results. We sincerely hope Maricopa County will produce the missing documents and information we have requested for the audit to be complete and finalized. The voters deserve to know their votes are safe, secure and legally counted. To that end, Ken Bennett will be involved and a vital part of the draft and final reports to ensure their accuracy with his knowledge and contributions throughout the audit process."
Senate President Karen Fann