Republican liaison to Arizona ‘audit’ says he might resign, saying there were ‘serious issues’ with Cyber Ninjas’ process

Ken Bennett wearing a white button-down shirt and hanging his face mask off his left ear stands next to monitors in an arena.
Former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett talks in April about overseeing a 2020 election audit ordered by the Republican-led Arizona Senate. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
  • A former Arizona secretary of state accused Cyber Ninjas of withholding vital information about its audit.
  • Ken Bennett said there were “serious issues” with Cyber Ninjas’ vote-tallying process.
  • Bennett was barred from the site of the audit last week.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The unconventional election “audit” in Arizona’s Maricopa County has been criticized by Democrats, local Republicans, and independent election experts. Now the person many had thought was in charge of it says he, too, is concerned about its legitimacy.

In an interview with a conservative talk-show host on Monday, former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, the GOP-led state Senate’s liaison to the ballot-counting process led by the private company Cyber Ninjas, said he was “close to stepping down.”

“I cannot be a part of a process that I am kept out of,” he said. “Critical aspects along the way that make the audit legitimate and have integrity when we produce the final report. And, unfortunately, there have been too many of those situations.”

He added: “I’m the liaison, and I think when people hear that word, they think, ‘OK, he’s in charge of it.’ But that has not been the case.”

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Cyber Ninjas last week barred Bennett from the building where employees and volunteers are counting ballots – months now into an audit following President Donald Trump’s false claims of widespread election fraud.

Bennett was barred after he shared data with two outside analysts indicating that Maricopa County’s certified vote count was accurate.

The first count by Cyber Ninjas – whose founder, Doug Logan, appeared in a film claiming that the 2020 election was rigged – reportedly ended up with a different number of ballots cast.

Bennett told James T. Harris, the host of “The Conservative Circus,” that he was concerned that “all the sudden there was talk about a third count to just verify the number of ballots that are here,” a process he wanted to ensure was “independent from Cyber Ninjas.”

The problems with the company’s ballot-counting methods were apparent early on, he said. He suggested that the figures added to the central database did not always match the tallies from those who had counted the ballots.

“There were serious issues in the aggregation spreadsheet, when the tally sheets would be carried over to the end of the room and entered into the spreadsheet,” he said. Bennett said that he had been told about improvements to address his concerns but that workers later told them they had been instructed not to share anything with him.

Bennett did not respond to a request for comment. He told Harris that after a phone call with state Senate President Karen Fann, he remained the chamber’s audit representative; it wasn’t clear for how long.

“I’m standing here on the precipice,” he said on Monday.

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