The total number of ballots counted in the Arizona Senate’s audit of the 2020 election does not match the official tally documented by Maricopa County officials, Senate President Karen Fann revealed in an interview on Tuesday. The discrepancy has prompted the state Legislature to order new machines — “not Dominion’s, separate ones” to recount the ballots, she said.
Fann authorized the audit after winning a courtroom battle for access to voting equipment and ballots from the 2020 general election in metro Phoenix.
The counting and examination of paper ballots in Maricopa Count was supposed to conclude last month, but due to the discrepancy, a new machine count is being conducted in a building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.
“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,” Fann told KTAR radio host Mike Broomhead. “Because before we turn those ballots back to Maricopa County, they want to make sure that every one of those check-and-balances match before they start doing the analysis of all the data they received.”
Fann said a Senate attorney had indicated a couple of weeks ago that the audit tally wouldn’t match the county total.
“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.
“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.”
In Maricopa County, 2,089,563 ballots were cast in November’s election, according to the official canvass results. Joe Biden surpassed former President Trump by over 10,000 votes out of more than 3.3 million cast across the state. In Maricopa County, the Democrat beat Trump by nearly 45,000 votes.
Fann told Broomhead that she didn’t know the size of the discrepancy. “They have not told me the number,” she explained. “They haven’t released a number yet. However, we do know that those numbers do not match with Maricopa County at this point.”
State Senate spokesman Randy Pullen told pool reporters Monday that the new machine count would go into next week.
In the coming weeks, election auditors will also reportedly be checking for “voter registration anomalies,” and for signatures on ballot envelopes. A final report is expected later this summer.
Jack Sellers, the GOP chairman of Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors, told the Arizona Mirror in a statement that he was not surprised the state Senate’s “woefully underqualified” audit team came up with a different ballot tally than the “experienced professionals” in his county’s elections department.
“They’ve cycled through processes and procedures, chasing conspiracy theories while volunteers with no elections experience tried to accurately count votes as they spun by on turntables. Elections experts from across the country have said this method is flawed and will produce incorrect results,” Sellers said in a statement provided to the Mirror.
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, also a Republican, also attributed the disparate counts to human error by the Cyber Ninjas team. He speculated that the audit team members may have included ballots that shouldn’t have been counted, such as spoiled ballots, test ballots and the original copies of ballots that were duplicated because the tabulation machines couldn’t read them. Or, he said, they could have omitted ballots that should have been counted.
Fann expressed confidence in the Cyber Ninjas, and pointed out that the team also includes contractors with experience in election audits.
“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.”
Arizona State Senator Sonny Borrelli stressed in a recent interview that it is important that the audit’s findings are “accurate” and “bulletproof” because they fully expect to be challenged in court.
“This is probably going to be the most challenged to audit litigated in probably US history or world history,” he told Gateway Pundit reporter Jordan Conradson. “So we got to make sure that we are 100% accurate on any of the findings that we find, and we will go from there.”