By Zachary Stieber
The 2020 election audit going on in Arizona’s largest county will likely uncover some issues, the state’s Senate president said on Thursday.
“I hope we don’t find anything serious. I think we’ll find irregularities that is going to say, you know what, there’s this many dead people voted, or this many who may have voted that don’t live here anymore. We’re going to find those,” Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, said on Arizona PBS.
“We know those exist, but everybody keeps saying, ‘You have no proof.’ Well, maybe we’ll get the proof out of this so we can fix those holes that are there. I hope there’s no fraud there—I don’t even like using the word, because that would truly shake the utter ground of everything we believe in in our election system. But if—and I mean a big if—there is, then it will be turned over to the authorities, they can take care of it and the Senate will do whatever we can to close down those loopholes,” she added.
The state Senate ordered the audit of Maricopa County ballots and machines after the November general election. After the county fought against subpoenas, it agreed to send most of the subpoenaed materials, and the audit started on April 23. The county is still withholding routers.
Fann and others involved in the process have seen harsh criticism from Democrats, including Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. On MSNBC on Thursday night, Hobbs called the audit a “circus” and said people from across the political spectrum have called her office expressing concern about it.
“They have been able to see what a sham it is, and that it is not actually a real audit, and that it’s not going to determine anything different about the election than we already know, that it was a free and fair election,” she said.
In addition, the Arizona Democratic Party tried halting the audit, claiming the auditors were violating the law with lax security and poor ballot handling.
A judge ultimately decided not to stop the process, and the parties later reached a settlement that was touted by Democrats but panned as changing nothing by Cyber Ninjas, the company running the process.
Fann said the audit is not about changing election results, which saw Democrats win the presidential race and a U.S. Senate race. She said it is about restoring confidence in elections among the approximately half of voters that polls indicate distrust the entire election system.
Democrats “do not want this audit done,” she said on television on Thursday. “They talk about conspiracy theories, but I’ll tell you what there’s almost like a reverse conspiracy theory now as to trying to demean this audit. I’m going to be very, very clear here because this is something that just isn’t getting reported enough. This election is not about [former President Donald] Trump, it’s not about overturning the election or electors or anybody else. This is about 49 percent of Arizona voters have no confidence in our election system,” she said.
Fann also challenged critics who argue that Maricopa County already performed a forensic audit, among other reviews.
The county chose two firms that only certify machines, and one of them, Pro V&V, certified the machines to begin with, she said.
“That is not a forensic audit,” she said.
The current process, on the other hand, is reviewing all of the nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in 2020, in addition to thoroughly investigating the tabulators and other machines used.
The Senate-ordered audit was originally expected to wrap up by May 14, when teams will have to vacate the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix because of high school graduations that are set to take place there. The Senate liaison, though, told The Epoch Times this week that it could run longer.
“I was hoping that they would be a little further along than they are right now,” Fann said, but added she was pleased with the progress. “It’s a huge undertaking. It’s the first time anybody’s every done this to this magnitude. So, I think they’re doing pretty good considering all the factors going on.”
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