Arizona Senate liaison overseeing audit will quit

The Arizona state Senate’s liaison overseeing the 2020 election audit in the state announced Wednesday that he will resign from his role.

Ken Bennett, a former Arizona secretary of state, said he was stepping down from his role after he was denied access to the facility where the audit’s vote counting is taking place. He was later asked to stay on in his position after his access was denied. 

“Right now, I’m a liaison in name only,” Bennett said on KFYI on Wednesday, referencing the “Republican in name only” moniker that far-right members of the GOP use to describe some centrists. “Being locked out at this critical point ... makes it impossible for me to be a true liaison for the Senate.” 

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“I won't pretend to be part of a process or pretend to be the liaison when I’m not,” he added. 

Bennett was first barred from the building last week by top Senate Republicans after he shared early results with people outside of the audit process. Randy Pullen, another Senate representative, has been performing the role of audit liaison. 

Bennett’s upcoming resignation marks the latest development in an audit that has muddled on with no firm end date for the vote count. 

Liberal outside groups, state senators and local officials in Maricopa County traded barbs earlier this month, accusing one another of failing to provide the necessary documents to complete the audit. Two months ago, Pullen said he thought the count could be finished by the end of May, but that informal deadline passed with little progress toward completion.

Republicans in the state Senate launched the audit last year after former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE leveled unsupported allegations that election fraud and other irregularities cost him Arizona and a number of other key swing states in November.

There has been no evidence of widespread misconduct in the November presidential election. President BidenJoe Biden White House: US has donated 200 million COVID-19 vaccines around the world Police recommend charges against four over Sinema bathroom protest K Street revenues boom MORE won the state and its 11 Electoral College votes by more than 10,000 votes in 2020.

The audit is focused on Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest county and the home of Phoenix. The county went for Biden by more than 2 percentage points.