Fann hopes a new report restores confidence in elections. Republicans still claim fraud

By Ben Giles
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Published: Thursday, March 24, 2022 - 5:54pm
Updated: Friday, June 3, 2022 - 3:29pm

Senate President Karen Fann said she hopes a recent investigation, which concluded Maricopa County’s vote-counting equipment wasn’t tampered with or connected to the internet in 2020, will “restore some confidence back in our election system.”

The Prescott Republican agreed to commission the study led by former congressman John Shadegg as part of a legal agreement with Maricopa County. Local officials had refused to hand over county networking equipment to Fann’s inexperienced contractors, who claimed they couldn’t verify whether election systems were kept offline during the 2020 vote.

Shadegg and a team of experts found “no evidence” that equipment at the county’s ballot tabulation center — where votes are counted — were “connected to the public internet.”

“We're pleased that we've been able to bring some closure to the voters who had questions and concerns about the security of these computers,” Fann said in a statement the day after Shadegg’s report was released.

The report debunks a common myth, repeated without evidence, about Maricopa County’s election systems — that the machines were ever connected to the internet, and therefore susceptible to a scheme to alter votes in favor of President Biden.

And it comes 13 months after Maricopa County hired two federally certified companies to confirm the vote-counting machines are designed with air gaps to ensure they’re never connected to the web. Fann was unwilling to accept the county's own assurances that the equipment was not compromised.

But the latest report has done nothing to satisfy the most fervent election deniers at the Capitol, including Fann’s fellow Republicans Rep. Mark Finchem and Sen. Wendy Rogers, as well as Kelli Ward, the leader of the state Republican Party.

Finchem, who is campaigning for secretary of state on the platform that the election was rigged, the results should be decertified, and the state's 11 electoral votes should be withdrawn from Biden, said the new report proves nothing.

"You're seriously asking us to ignore all the other evidence,'' he said, despite a flawed GOP-led election review and multiple legitimate audits finding no such evidence.

Rogers tweeted on Wednesday that “the machines were connected to the Internet and the elections workers tampered with the machines. The truth is the truth.”

On Thursday, Ward tweeted attacks at Maricopa County, claiming they were lying about the election as the county’s official Twitter account gloated that the latest investigation confirmed what election leaders had said all along.

“I will never believe anything whoever runs this account tweets,” Ward wrote. “And neither will millions of other truth seekers.”

Politics Elections