Arizona state Senate President Karen Fann said Tuesday that the audit of Maricopa County’s general election ballots has already found a discrepancy.
“They haven’t released a number yet, if you will. However, we do know that those numbers do not match with Maricopa County at this point,” Fann said.
Fann said she does not know how far off the totals are.
“I do not know. They have not told me the number,” she said.
The audit began against a backdrop of election fraud claims from former President Donald Trump. Arizona Senate Republicans decided there was sufficient concern about the integrity of Maricopa County’s election to justify taking a closer look at the results.
A long-running war with the county followed before a judge ruled the audit could take place. Since then, the audit has remained a bone of contention, with Democrats denouncing the process.
Fann said the auditors are giving the ballots one final count before they are returned to the county.
“We are finishing up. The vendor is finishing up what we call the aggregation, double-checking the spreadsheets against the blue tally sheets, against the scans they did on the ballots,” she said.
The possibility of a discrepancy was hinted at weeks ago, she said, leading the Senate to make a final count of its own.
“That’s when we said, ‘Let’s get a couple of our own independent machines in, not Dominion’s, separate ones, and do our own independent — and all we’re doing is just counting the number of ballots,” she said. “It’s a paper-counting machine is all it does.”
Fann said the Senate’s count is a check on the audit and the county.
“That will help us give like a third check-and-balance to see if those numbers are closer to the vendors’ numbers or Maricopa County’s, or they all three could be right on target,” she said.
#azauditpool reporting for duty.
About 40 ballot inspection tables
The official recount is over but they are still spinning ballots as a sampling to try to check their original results.
Overheard they are still on track to finish by Saturday but haven’t had that confirmed to me. pic.twitter.com/sGFPiKxs7P
— Jen Fifield (@JenAFifield) June 21, 2021
Fann said that although the audit has not gone perfectly, she has faith that contractors including Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based cybersecurity firm, will pull it off.
“I’m confident because it’s not just them,” she said. “Everybody keeps just counting on them when actually they are working with a number of other contractors that have experience in audits and in their expertise in their own fields. … This is a joint effort.”
“Do I think that it’s gone as smoothly as it could have? Heck, no,” she said.
“This is the first time in the history of our nation that anybody has done an audit of this magnitude. And so, quite honestly, we are doing a lot of things, triple-checking, just to make sure that this is all correct.”
Fann criticized Maricopa County and Arizona Democrats for trying to stop the audit.
“Maricopa County has not cooperated at all,” she said.
“They have done everything in their power to try and stop this. Then we have of course [Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs], [former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes], the Democrat Party that has done everything in their ability to try and stop us. … It’s been a difficult challenge but we are persevering on this.”
Watch the full Senate hearing on the Arizona audit here.
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