Fann wants hand count of 2.1 million ballots, may use volunteers

Karen Fann by Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

Senate President Karen Fann wants to hand count all 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County in the 2020 general election, a job that may fall to a bipartisan group of volunteers.

In the three months since Fann and then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Eddie Farnsworth first issued subpoenas to Maricopa County for ballots, tabulation machines and other materials from the election, she has not yet selected anyone to conduct the audit she’s long sought. On Thursday, Fann announced that she has narrowed down the selection to a “preferred forensic audit team,” and that the Senate is negotiating the final details of an agreement.

Related: Now the Arizona Senate plans not just an election audit but a full recount? What’s next, a revote?

Ballots ready to be delivered to the state Senate./Maricopa County

Fann, a Prescott Republican, emphasized that the audit will include tests of the tabulation machines and inspecting them for security breaches — the county has already conducted such a test using federally certified firms, who found no problems with the machines — in addition to scanning and hand counting all 2.1 million ballots.

“When all the work is done, there will be a full report for the Senate and County to review. Our voters expect this audit, and it can be a big step in returning trust and confidence in our election process,” Fann said in a press statement.

Yellow Sheet Report, a high-priced insider tipsheet by the company that publishes the Arizona Capitol Times, reported on Wednesday that Fann plans to use volunteers for the hand count, and suggested using a bipartisan group of 100 volunteers for the effort. Fann told the Arizona Mirror on Thursday that she wants the hand count to be as bipartisan or nonpartisan as possible, and that the Senate could save money if it had qualified volunteers and didn’t have to pay everyone involved in the count.

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