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Arizona secretary of state rejects GOP lawmaker's request for tests of voting machines

Arizona secretary of state rejects GOP lawmaker's request for tests of voting machines

  • Updated

PHOENIX – Senate President Karen Fann is seeking an independent analysis of the testing of Arizona voting machines.

In a letter to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the Prescott Republican said she is not claiming there was fraud in the just-completed election.

“But many others are making that claim,” Fann said. And she contends that the outside review will put the “current controversy” to rest.

Election department employees process and verify ballots from the 2020 General Election at the Pima County Election Center in Tucson on Nov. 2, 2020. (Josh Galemore / Arizona Daily Star)

But Hobbs said Fann, while professing no belief in fraud, is herself trafficking in conspiracy theories by even suggesting that an extra – and legally unrequired – step is necessary to quell rumors.

“It is patently unreasonable to suggest that, despite there being zero credible evidence of any impropriety or widespread irregularities, election officials nonetheless have a responsibility to prove a negative,” she wrote Tuesday in a response to Fann.

“To be clear, there is no ‘current controversy’ regarding elections in Arizona, outside of theories floated by those seeking to undermine our democratic process for political gain,” Hobbs said. “Elected officials should work to build, rather than damage, public confidence in our system.”

And the secretary left no doubt about what she intends to do.

“I respectfully decline your request to push aside the work that remains to be done to ensure an orderly completion of this election and instead launch and fund with taxpayer dollars a boundless ‘independent’ evaluation of ‘all data related to the tabulation of votes in the 2020 General Election,”’ Hobbs wrote.

Fann told Capitol Media Services there’s nothing improper about her request, even absent any proof of fraud.

“There are a lot of questions that the voters have,” she said. “And for the integrity of our democracy, why wouldn’t we want to get to the bottom of these questions?”

And if there’s nothing there, Fann said, “let’s find out what they are and either put them to bed or get those questions answered.”

Hobbs said everything being done follows the election laws as established by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

She pointed out the equipment used to tabulate votes can be used only if first certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and her own office, after review by a special State’s Equipment Certification Advisory Committee.

Then there are “logic and accuracy” tests on each piece of equipment – tests that need to be done in public – both before and after the election to ensure the machines are properly recording votes.

And there even is a law that requires that 2% of the ballots from select precincts be counted by hand to ensure the tally matches what the machine has spit out. And that is open to party officials who even can video record the process.

All that, Hobbs said, was made public for months before the election.

“It’s not like we’re trying to hide anything,” Hobbs said. “If the public right now is deciding, ‘Oh, we need to do something else,’ it’s because they weren’t paying attention – or they chose not to.”

Fann, however, said it’s not that simple.

“Isn’t it our duty and our responsibility to answer to our constituents and give them that comfort level of we are going to look into whatever their concerns are,” she said. “And if they are false or there is misinformation, then we should correct that for them.”

Still, Fann acknowledged it is the Legislature that crafted the election laws, including the security features. And it was never thought necessary to require the kind of outside audit that she now wants.

The Senate president said she would be asking the same questions if the tally was showing Trump had won Arizona and she had been approached by Biden supporters who said they had observed irregularities at the polls.

On Twitter: @azcapmedia

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