PHOENIX - A Republican-led hand recount of ballots cast in Arizona's most populous county resumed Monday after a weeklong hiatus.
Counters returned to a former basketball arena where contractors working for the state Senate GOP are reviewing Maricopa County's handling of the 2020 election.
The recount is taking far longer than expected, and counters had to vacate the facility for high school graduations last week. More tables and counters were added this week, but the operation has still not reached its full capacity.
Journalists observing the operation were told that Senate liaison Ken Bennett, a former Republican secretary of state, will no-longer be answering questions about the process. Reporters were directed instead to former Arizona Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen.
Senate Republicans issued a subpoena to take control of 2.1 million ballots, voting machines and election data from the state's largest county after former President Donald Trump claimed without evidence that his loss in Arizona and other battleground states was marred by fraud. Republicans hired several firms led by Cyber Ninjas, a small Florida-based consultancy with no election experience before this year, to audit the materials.
The recount resumes after a week of tense back-and-forth between legislative Republicans, the auditors they've hired and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Auditors claim an election database was deleted, a charge county officials have vociferously denied.
The review won't change the outcome of the election, but some Trump supporters believe it will turn up evidence to support his narrative of fraud. Voting-rights advocates and election administrators say the 2020 election was conducted well and worry the Arizona GOP review is using slipshod procedures and investigating far-fetched conspiracy theories.
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Continuing coverage of the Arizona election audit: