Arizona Sen. Fann has ‘confidence’ in audit but is ‘disappointed’ it’s not done

May 14, 2021, 2:27 PM | Updated: 2:55 pm
Karen Fann...
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann. (AP File Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
(AP File Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX – As the audit of the 2020 Maricopa County election goes on a 10-day hiatus, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann said Friday she hasn’t lost confidence in the contractors’ work but isn’t thrilled about how long they’ve been taking.

“I still have every bit of confidence in our vendors, the four contractors that are doing this,” the Prescott Republican told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show.

“I am disappointed it hasn’t gone faster and completed when we expected to be completed.”

After winning a legal battle with Maricopa County over access to nearly 2.1 million ballots and voting equipment from the November 2020 election, Fann hired Cyber Ninjas to lead three other firms on a full hand recount and forensic audit.

Cyber Ninjas, a cybersecurity company, had no experience conducting election audits. Fann’s selection of the Florida-based firm’s $150,000 bid quickly drew scrutiny over founder Doug Logan’s deleted Twitter account, which had activity supporting unfounded election conspiracy theories.

Some of the audit has been ridiculed, both locally and nationally, and has used methods that appear to be based on claims that President Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump was enabled by fake ballots infiltrating the election.

Fann defended the auditors’ search for watermarks on bamboo fibers and the ballots, calling it a way to dispel rumors.

“While the media has tried to portray that everybody is just a bunch of kooks looking for bamboo and watermarks, in fact, what they’re doing is making sure,” Fann said.

The audit went on hiatus Friday because of previously scheduled high school graduation ceremonies at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where the count started on April 23. The ballots and equipment are secured in a different fairgrounds building during the break.

The recount and forensic inspection was originally expected to be completed by now, but they will resume May 24 at the Coliseum under a new rental agreement that runs until the end of June.

Ken Bennett, the former Arizona Secretary of State who is serving as Senate audit liaison, told the media pool Friday that about 500,000 ballots, less than 25% of the total, had been counted.

Fann said the unprecedented nature and magnitude of the audit was among the reasons the extension was needed.

“It’s taking longer getting the volunteers and doing backgrounds on them, and doing that has taken more time. So that’s why it’s taking longer, the constant lawsuits and media interruptions and everything that has interrupted our process,” she said.

“I’m not making excuses. I’m just saying that I realized that they have, you know, they thought it would go a lot smoother and quicker. But if it takes longer to do it right, I’m OK with that.”

The Arizona Democratic Party filed a lawsuit to stop the audit as it was getting underway, but it was settled with minimal delays to the actual counting.

A judge said the audit could continue on the condition that Cyber Ninjas released its policies for ensuring voter privacy and ballot secrecy, which the company did a day after the ruling.

Media was largely barred from the audit at the start, but a pool arrangement was made to allow journalists limited onsite access to observe from a distance.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(DEA Photo)...
Taylor Tasler

Valley students taking peer-to-peer approach when raising awareness for fentanyl

A group of students at Valley schools are working together to raise awareness of the deadly effects of fentanyl.
7 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/US Border Patrol, Tucson Sector)...

Man pleads guilty to assaulting 2 Border Patrol agents in Arizona in 2022

A Mexican citizen pleaded guilty last week to the assault of two Arizona Border Patrol agents last year, authorities said.
7 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/The Offspring)...

Offspring with Simple Plan, Sum 41, coming to Phoenix for summer tour

American rock band The Offspring announced Monday it will stop by the Valley on its 24-city Let The Bad Times Roll Tour this summer.
7 hours ago
(Banner Health Photo)...
SuElen Rivera

Banner Health announces plan to open Scottsdale hospital in 2026

Banner Health announced Monday it plans to open a full-service hospital and cancer care center in the northeast Valley.
7 hours ago
(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)...

Man arrested after allegedly attempting to kidnap woman at Phoenix airport

A man was arrested over the weekend for allegedly attempting to kidnap a woman from a Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport parking garage.
1 day ago
(Photo: OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center)...
Sponsored Content by OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

Here's what you need to know about OCD and where to find help

It's fair to say that most people know what obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders generally are, but there's a lot more information than meets the eye about a mental health diagnosis that affects about one in every 100 adults in the United States.

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Arizona Sen. Fann has ‘confidence’ in audit but is ‘disappointed’ it’s not done