Arizona Senate Republicans plan a full hand recount of the Maricopa County election

Published: Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 1:20pm
Updated: Wednesday, February 9, 2022 - 1:39pm
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Karen Fann in 2019.

Arizona Senate Republicans say they’re one step closer to conducting their own audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County.

It’s been three weeks since a Superior Court judge ruled a Senate subpoena of voting records was valid and enforceable, but the Senate has yet to start the audit it’s demanded since December. 

Senate President Karen Fann, a Prescott Republican, said Thursday that she’s identified a “preferred forensic audit team,” but did not say who.

“We are negotiating final details of the execution of the audit and hope to have an announcement soon,” she said in a statement.

Fann previously announced an auditing firm was selected in January. Fann later backtracked from that statement after it was reported she’d hired a Texas-based firm that’s worked with close allies and legal advisers to former President Donald Trump in attempts to claim the presidential election was stolen or fraudulent.

Fann’s latest announcement follows a report by the Yellow Sheet Report, a sister publication to the Arizona Capitol Times, that she was looking for bipartisan volunteers to conduct a full hand recount of the election in Maricopa County — all 2.1 million ballots.

“We will hand count every one of them,” Fann told the Yellow Sheet. Her statement Thursday confirmed the Senate intends to recount every ballot.

Fann also said she’s looking for bipartisan election officials to oversee that process. Helen Purcell, a Republican who served for years as the Maricopa County recorder, told the Yellow Sheet she was approached by Fann’s attorneys and offered a role.

Purcell said she turned down the offer because she doesn’t believe yet another audit is necessary.

In her announcement, Fann also reiterated her desire to conduct the Senate’s audit at county election headquarters — a departure from the Senate’s original subpoena, which demanded all ballots and voting records be delivered to the Senate offices at the state capitol. County officials have said they’re concerned about allowing non-Election Department personnel into the agency’s offices.

The Senate’s audit will also test voting-counting machines and check for “IT breaches,” tests the county conducted during its own audit in February. The audit debunked numerous conspiracy theories about ways the county’s election may have been fraudulent.