Hand recount expected to end this week; attention turns to ballot paper

Ronald J. Hansen
Arizona Republic

The hand recount of Maricopa County's ballots should end this week, while the inspection of the paper itself will continue likely until the end of the month, a spokesperson for the state Senate-ordered review said Tuesday.

As that process continues to unfold on the floor of Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, the state also will provide up-close views of it to visitors from across the country, said Ken Bennett, the media liaison for the ballot review.

On Tuesday, Alaska state Rep. David Eastman and Georgia state Sens. Brandon Beach and Burt Jones, all of whom are Republicans, walked around the ballot inspection stations. Georgia Republican Party Chair David Shafer also joined the walk-through.

Bennett said officials from other states also have contacted them, possibly including people from Virginia and Wisconsin.

As it stands, the review is closing in on completing perhaps the most basic element of its effort: recounting the 2.1 million ballots cast in Arizona's most populous county.

"I think the counting will be done by the end of this week, and then all of the resources will shift to the paper evaluation, and that may still take most of the rest of this month," Bennett said. 

Beyond that, inspectors are examining the paper more critically. That is to determine whether, for example, the ballots used computer ink or, as expected, ink from pens.

Once all of the work is done, the review's findings will be put together, Bennett said, adding that no recommendations on legislation or election administration had been made.

Reach the reporter Ronald J. Hansen at ronald.hansen@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-4493. Follow him on Twitter @ronaldjhansen.

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