Arizona Senate President Karen Fann ‘absolutely proud’ about election audit
PHOENIX – Arizona Senate President Karen Fann said the Cyber Ninjas’ review of Maricopa County’s 2020 election wasn’t perfect but she has no regrets about her involvement in it.
“First and foremost, let me say emphatically that I am absolutely proud that we did this audit, and asked if I would do it again, the answer is absolutely yes,” she told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday, a day after she announced she’d be retiring after the 2022 legislative session.
Fann acknowledged that the election review process wasn’t without issues.
“Do I think that we could have done better? Oh absolutely,” she said.
“This is the first of its kind in the nation, … everybody was just trying to figure out what we’re going to do, how we’re going to do it, what’s the best procedures and methodology.”
She also said she wished there’d been “more definitive outcomes” from the audit she and other Senate Republican leaders authorized but attributed that in part to the lack of cooperation from Maricopa County officials.
“It’s hard to say you have a complete report when people are hiding and omitting information from you,” she said.
Maricopa County officials have resisted working with Cyber Ninjas, who had no previous election experience, but they deny accusations of illegally deleting files and say they have complied with the Senate’s subpoenas related to the audit.
The audit report released in September, five months after the process started, noted what the contractors called anomalies, which county officials have attributed to Cyber Ninjas’ lack of expertise and haphazard procedures. A hand recount of the approximately 2.1 million ballots cast, one part of the review, affirmed President Joe Biden’s narrow victory with numbers close to the ones certified by state officials a year ago.
Fann said the audit showed that procedures were not always properly followed by elections officials.
“When you don’t follow the procedures correctly, people start asking questions,” she said. “What about this? What about that?
“And it’s our job to answer those questions.”
Fann said the Senate is already working on election integrity bills for what will be her final session after 10 years in the Legislature and nearly three decades in politics.
She ranked election integrity among the top three things she wants to be remembered for from her time as a state lawmaker, along with a 2015 overhaul of rules for rideshare businesses and raising the state’s unemployment benefit this year for the first time since 2004.
Fann said she is “ready to retire and actually enjoy my life a little bit” after selling the business she’s owned for 37 years in March.
“I had never planned on being in politics,” she said. “Somehow, I ended up there, and it just became, ‘OK, if I enjoy doing this, if I’m going to make a difference, I will continue doing it.’”