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Senate President Karen Fann punts to attorney general to investigate audit claims

The Republican senator who spearheaded a probe into Maricopa County's 2020 ballots has asked Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to review her findings.

PHOENIX — In a news conference following Friday's presentation on the Republican-led election audit, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann insisted operational problems had occurred in Maricopa County last November that need to be investigated. 

Fann told reporters she hopes Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich will thoroughly review allegations detailed in an audit she released Friday after a months-long process that involved a contentious fight with the county. 

The fighting continued during Friday's proceedings as Fann's audit team accused Maricopa County officials of obstructing their efforts to investigate suspicions involving the 2020 election. 

The county has already addressed many of the allegations on its website.

RELATED: Arizona GOP audit: County denies claims staff deleted data

Fann said she hopes Brnovich examines duplicate ballots, chains of custody, and who the county grants digital access to its databases.  

"I think it showed the public that we do have some problems with our elections, that maybe the statutes are not being followed," Fann said during the news conference.

RELATED: GOP review finds no proof Arizona election stolen from Trump

'Careless allegations'

Maricopa County Supervisor Jack Sellers, a Republican, was quick to condemn Fann's comments, accusing the audit team of making "careless allegations." 

"Once again, these 'auditors' threw out wild, damaging, false claims in the middle of their audit, and Senate leadership provided them the platform to present their opinions, suspicions, and faulty conclusions unquestioned and unchallenged," Sellers said. "Today’s hearing was irresponsible and dangerous."

RELATED: Officials, leaders react to Arizona GOP Senate's election audit findings

'A lesson we all learned'

Fann reminded reporters her goal in auditing the 2020 election results was not to decertify the results; it was meant to identify weaknesses in how Arizona's elections are run, Fann said.

The senator said the state needs to be more stringent in tracking how Arizona's counties manage elections. 

"I believe that this is a lesson we all learned," Fann said. "We cannot automatically assume that whoever the recorders are, are following the rules and following the statutes."

Canvass in question

Fann notably distanced her final audit report from a canvass done by Liz Harris, a Republican who lost a legislative race in Chandler last year. 

Starting in December, Harris recruited volunteers through her Facebook page and the site ItSmellsFunny.com to canvas local neighborhoods about the 2020 election.   

RELATED: Arizona Republicans' ballot recount confirms Joe Biden still winner of 2020 election, draft report says

A draft of the audit report released Thursday referenced Harris' canvassing efforts, which did not appear in Friday's final report. 

Fann said she promised the U.S. Department of Justice the audit team did not authorize any canvassing efforts in Maricopa County.

RELATED: Arizona audit: Timeline of what was said during final presentation on partisan election audit

Maricopa County election audit

Keep track of the latest developments from the Maricopa County election audit on the 12 News YouTube channel.