bennett
Former Secretary of State: Maricopa’s Elections Full of Missteps, Gaffes

November 12, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

Newly re-elected State Senator Ken Bennett criticized Maricopa County’s handling of this election as one full of missteps and gaffes. In a Thursday interview with “The Conservative Circus,” Bennett called Maricopa County’s handling of this election “disheartening.” 

Bennett promised to introduce legislation that would ensure elections could be more “transparent, trackable, and publicly verified.” This election marks Bennett’s return to the state legislature, having served for nearly a decade from 1999 to 2007. 

“Especially with the focus and scrutiny that’s been on our entire state and on Maricopa County for the last two years, this was the election that we had to begin reinstalling confidence that we know what we’re doing in elections,” said Bennett.

According to Bennett’s platform, the newly re-elected state senator promises to see through legislation requiring counties to publish their list of registered voters by name, address, and precinct before each election, followed by a list of who voted in the election by name, address, and precinct, as well as ballot images and cast vote records.

Bennett’s insight comes from his time as the secretary of state. He oversaw 12 statewide elections, and one recount. In 2010, one of the ballot propositions led by 126 votes and triggered a full statewide recount of two million ballots. Only 12 votes changed. He said that elections should have that level of accuracy. 

Bennett further stated that the Election Day fiasco wasn’t caused by the tabulation machines as initially thought — it was the printers. Bennett said that this was good news, since that means the tabulation machines require precision. 

“They rejected the ballots because the darkness of the ink printed on there wasn’t even enough,” explained Bennett. 

The secretary of state’s office wasn’t to blame, according to Bennett, although he noted that there could be better preventative measures put in place to ensure Tuesday’s issue doesn’t reoccur. 

The secretary of state’s office included two main responsibilities, one of which includes ensuring a month before the election that county machines are spot-checked for accuracy. Based on the Election Day fiasco, Bennett suggested that the on-demand printers receive more scrutiny during the spot-checking process. 

Bennett served as the liaison to the State Senate’s controversial Cyber Ninjas-led audit of the 2020 election. His time in the role was fraught with issues that would prompt him to step down and later continue to haunt the Cyber Ninjas.

During this election, Time sought out Bennett and a fellow former secretary of state, Democrat Richard Mahoney, to obtain their perspective on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs’ oversight of her race. Both Bennett and Mahoney suggested that Hobbs recuse herself.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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