Arizona Senate president warns state could take control of Maricopa election after audit red flags

"If we find that you are breaking the laws, and you can't do the election yourself, then maybe the state ought to step in and do it," said Karen Fann.

Published: October 1, 2021 11:33am

Updated: October 1, 2021 11:38pm

Following the release of explosive findings by an independent forensic audit of the 2020 election in Arizona's Maricopa County, the state may step in to assume direct control of election administration there before the next election, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann hinted Friday. 

The long-awaited results of an outside audit of the county's 2020 election process were announced Sept. 24. While confirming the rough accuracy of county vote tabulation giving Joe Biden a razor-thin victory in Arizona, the auditors flagged more than 50,000 suspect ballots for further investigation of issues ranging from people voting from addresses from which they had already moved to residents voting twice. 

The number of problematic ballots uncovered was almost five times Biden's official margin of victory

Responsibility for determining whether and to what extent laws were broken during the 2020 election now rests with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican with 2022 Senate aspirations. 

"If you didn't do your job, and the laws were broken, somebody has to answer for it, whether it was intentional or not," said Fann on a recent episode of the John Solomon Reports podcast. 

Fann said she believes Brnovich will find evidence, based on the findings in the audit report, that chain of custody laws were broken, as well as laws pertaining to identifying duplicate ballots, among other issues.

The lawmaker told Solomon that one of her biggest takeaways from the audit and the contentious process surrounding the production of the report is that "if you don't watch over your own elections, people start breaking the rules." 

While the Maricopa County audit has acted as a roadmap for Republicans in some states to push for audits of their own, Arizona may now follow the model of Georgia and consider assuming direct responsibility for election administration from Maricopa County. 

Georgia officials are currently watching Fulton County election authorities extremely closely as Atlanta prepares for a November mayoral race. Following a 2020 election marred by numerous irregularities — many captured in a lengthy report by a state-assigned election monitor — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told Just the News he plans to recommend to Georgia's Elections Board that the state take direct control of elections in Fulton due to habitual failures by the county. 

Fann told Solomon this model could potentially remedy some of Maricopa's problems as well. In her opening statement at the audit report presentation, the state Senate leader  again expressed frustration with the failure of Maricopa officials to cooperate with the audit.

"They have refused time and time and time again [to sit down with us]," she told Solomon, 

If the state finds that, despite numerous chances, "you are breaking the laws, and you can't do the election yourself, then maybe the state ought to step in and do it," Fann said. "Maybe that's the penalty."

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