When the Arizona Legislature goes into session Monday morning, Senate President Karen Fann and other lawmakers who supported the audit of Maricopa County’s handling of the 2020 General Election will be able to point to the county board’s recent acknowledgement that some changes are needed to its election procedures.
On Jan. 5, the county board and several employees of the Recorder’s Office and Elections Department took part in a four-hour public meeting to address the dozens of concerns raised by the Senate-initiated, Cyber Ninjas-led audit. The next day Fann expressed her appreciation that county officials “finally” admitted some changes are needed to Maricopa County’s election process.
“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. “Although it took 14 months and a costly audit, Maricopa County yesterday joined us in pursuit of this worthwhile objective.”
One improvement promised by county officials involves how duplicate ballots are tracked and stored. There will also be a new system for catching attempts at casting ballots in the names of deceased voters and for identifying whether ballots are double-counted.
“Maricopa County took an important first step with us yesterday, and we look forward to their cooperation to improve voter confidence in our elections going forward,” Fann said.
The senator also said she was glad to learn county officials submitted information to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office about several instances in which ballots may have been illegally cast on behalf of a dead voter. Other voters may have cast more than one ballot in Arizona, Maricopa County officials reported.
“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,” she 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.”
Meanwhile, Fann is still working with an IT specialist to review data related to Maricopa County’s routers and Splunk logs during the election. The county board agreed last year to pay former Congressman John Shadegg to serve as a special master to handle the review.
“We’re also looking forward to hearing from the Attorney General on the results of his investigation,” Fann said, referring to the report she submitted to Attorney General Mark Brnovich in September about several issues connected to the audit.
Fann also took part in the Arizona Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Forecast Luncheon at Chase Field with Gov. Doug Ducey on Jan. 7. The luncheon featured comments from Fann and the governor, as well as business leaders, and other legislators.