Senate President Karen Fann rented the coliseum through May 14 for a recount and examination of 2.1 million Maricopa County ballots.
Fann, a Prescott Republican, also signed an agreement allowing the county to retrieve its subpoenaed ballots and ballot-tabulating machines by May 14.
Ken Bennett – the Senate audit liaison, a former secretary of state, and a longtime Prescott friend of Fann’s – said an estimated 175,000 ballots, perhaps 200,000, ballots had been counted.
At a best-case rate of 20,000 ballots counted per day, given current resources, the count would take about 100 more days.
Last week, Bennett had told reporters the hand count would be done by May 14.
Now, he has a different outlook.
“Accuracy is much more important than speed,” he told 12 News.
Bennett said the temp workforce of about 60 people would allow the audit team to add a third shift.
“They’ve got 46 stations ready instead of the 20,” he said. “As soon as the personnel can fill them we will.”
The May 14 deadline was significant because two-dozen Phoenix high schools will hold their graduations at the coliseum the following week.
“The facility has told us that if we had to stand aside for five days for the graduation, we could come right back in and have as much time as we need,” Bennett said.