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Two Arizona Republicans on their fight for election facts

Election deniers in Arizona
Arizona official says election deniers are "playing with our democracy" | 60 Minutes 03:07

In Arizona, the race for the governorship and battle to oversee the state's elections are tight two weeks from election day. The latest polls indicate that Republican Kari Lake is narrowly leading Democrat Katie Hobbs to become the state's next governor. Hobbs, Arizona's current Secretary of State, will be succeeded by either Democrat Adrian Fontes or Republican State Rep. Mark Finchem.

In both races, the Republican nominees disputed the accuracy of the 2020 presidential election on the campaign trail. As 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley reported on Sunday, to date, no credible evidence has been presented in Arizona to substantiate claims of widespread voter fraud. 

The person responsible for investigating election fraud allegations in Arizona is Attorney General Mark Brnovich. Brnovich, a lifelong Republican, voted for Mr. Trump in 2020 and told 60 Minutes his office thoroughly investigated leads that were sent to his office.

"There was no one in this country who wanted to find evidence of fraud more than I did," Brnovich said to Pelley. "But I thought it was important to systematically go through and say 'no' this is the facts, this is the evidence, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but when you're an actual prosecutor, when you're the actual government, there's a higher obligation—you can't afford to be sloppy."

Arizona AG debunks 2020 election fraud claims | 60 Minutes 01:12

Brnovich told 60 Minutes that his office investigated allegations of: dead people voting, injected votes in Pima county, and many more claims made about the 2020 election. The attorney general said none of the investigations revealed widespread voter fraud in Arizona.

This conclusion was echoed by the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Bill Gates. In his position as chairman, Gates is responsible for helping oversee elections in Arizona's most populous county. The lifelong Republican told 60 Minutes that election deniers should learn about the vote counting process. 

"I've no problem with people raising questions," Gates explained to 60 Minutes. "What I have a problem with is people raising questions in bad faith. And when we clearly answer those questions, and when we debunk those conspiracy theories, those election deniers continue to spread lies. That's what I have a problem with."

Following the 2020 Election, Maricopa County hired two companies certified by the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission to conduct a forensic audit of the ballot tabulation equipment. They published the independent evaluations online. The audit found that the machines were accurate, never connected to the internet, and showed no evidence of tampering.  

In order to establish transparency during the 2022 midterms, the Maricopa County Elections Department has live video feeds for the public to watch the election process unfold. That includes streams of ballot drop boxes and tabulation centers.

Gates told 60 Minutes he wants to avoid an election cycle that bears similarities to 2020 and hopes the transparency measures Maricopa County is taking give people confidence in the accuracy of the 2022 midterms, regardless of the outcome. 

"This democracy is in peril," Gates said. "We need to have an election that people can feel good about and confident. And that's why my colleagues and I are out here telling the truth, telling the details of our election system. [And] all of the safeguards that we have in place, all of the tests, all of the audits, so that people can have confidence. Because unfortunately, people who don't know much about elections continue to spread falsehoods, and that is tearing at the foundations of our democracy."

You can watch Scott Pelley's full report on the 2022 midterm elections in Arizona below.

Election deniers running for office and allegations about 2020 | 60 Minutes 13:30
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