Arizona Senate President Fann reiterates audit goal was to improve election processes
PHOENIX — Arizona Senate President Karen Fann reiterated Thursday that the goal of the audit of 2020 Maricopa County election results was to improve processes for the future.
“From day one, the Arizona Senate’s efforts have been in pursuit of a singular goal – identifying and implementing improvements to our election’s processes,” Fann said in a statement.
“Although it took 14 months and a costly audit, Maricopa County yesterday joined us in pursuit of this worthwhile objective.”
Maricopa County election officials on Wednesday rebuked accusations Cyber Ninjas, hired by Fann as lead contractor of the audit, made questioning the validity of 53,000 ballots.
A three-month review from the county found only 87 potentially questionable ballots.
A total of 40 claims made by the Cyber Ninjas, who had no election experience, were rebuffed by county election officials.
“I couldn’t be more proud to have been part of that process,” Maricopa County Supervisor Jack Sellers told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad on Thursday.
The county experts did find some issues when they analyzed claims in the Senate report. The county review validated only a handful of the 33,000 ballots that the Senate report said could have been illegally cast because voters had moved prior to the election.
Five voters were identified as having voted in more than one county, and six people may have voted twice in Maricopa County.
The county report also found 27 cases where ballots were counted that were cast by people who died before they were returned in the mail; those were referred to the state attorney general for more investigation and possible prosecution.
The county is reviewing another 100 cases involving people who died close to the election but still cast ballots. The Senate report had identified 298 voters who had potentially cast a ballot but died before the election.
In all, the county found 38 instances were a ballot may have been illegally cast, and all have been sent to the attorney general’s office.
The county report also said that election workers had inadvertently double counted a batch of 50 ballots.
But the number of vote counting errors and potential illegal votes would not have affected the outcome of the election.
“As our efforts have clearly shown, elections processes here in Arizona are not designed to be easily audited, unlike every other government process accountable to citizens,” Fann said.
“Now that the county is joining us, we look forward to implementing improvements to add ease, authentication, transparency and accountability to our elections processes in the coming legislative session.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.