Arizona Secretary of State expresses frustration over Maricopa County audit

Maricopa County ballot audit latest
Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 6:38 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Even while the GOP-led ballot counting of Maricopa County’s 2020 presidential election ballots is on hiatus, the dueling continues.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said during a press briefing today that “I am compelled once again that what we’re seeing happen is not an audit, it’s a fundraising stunt.”

Hobbs responded to a meeting called by AZ Senate President Karen Fann Tuesday to receive an update on the process.

The meeting was uneventful excepts for Fann’s statement that she’s been receiving phone calls from Senate presidents and others around the country asking about the process and expressing concern their state’s face the same issue.

Hobbs says that’s a concern.

“There’s an allusion to the fact they might expand the scope of audits to other counties or expand it to other races on the ballot,” Hobbs said.

Pima County elections director Brad Nelson said he has not heard anything official about plans to move it to Pima County but it has been a topic of conversation.

Fann has been defending the scope of the audit and her reasons behind it.

“Our job is to make sure voters and constituents understand the process and have full confidence in our election integrity,” Senator Fann said.

Hobbs also said it was a concern to her that several lawmakers were not allowed to attend the meeting and were asked to leave and reflects her frustration with the process.

“I’m concerned that members, duly elected members of the Senate were not allowed to be in the hearing,” she said. “Or whatever it was we saw yesterday.”

One of those asked to leave is District 9 State Senator Victoria Steele.

“I think it indicates a lack of transparency,” Steele said. “That has been pretty much the status quo the entire time this has been going on.”

Steele does not believe the vote-counting is to establish or protect election integrity.

“I think there are those out there who just want to cast doubt and chaos on our elections,” she said. “And they are encouraging this made-up claim of fraud.”

Even though the counting has stopped for the time being because the space they rented, the Phoenix Memorial Coliseum, is being used for graduation ceremonies, organizers say they will return next week.

They also said the process should be complete by the end of June.

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