Jen Fifield/Votebeat

Jen Fifield/Votebeat

Jen Fifield is a reporter for Votebeat. She previously covered Maricopa County and Phoenix for The Arizona Republic, including the high-profile review of the county’s 2020 election. Prior to that, she covered politics and government for local newspapers in Maryland and state policy for Stateline, a news service run by The Pew Charitable Trusts. She has won several regional press awards in Arizona and Maryland for her investigative, feature, politics and education reporting. Jen is a Phoenix native and graduated from Arizona State University’s Cronkite School.

A bill to enable do-it-yourself election audits sparks rare bipartisan interest in Arizona

By: - March 14, 2023

Behind closed doors this month, in a caucus room that typically holds members from just one party, in a state defined by its political divisiveness, a rare bipartisan parley unfolded. State Sen. Ken Bennett paced around the room explaining his idea for a Do-It-Yourself election audit. He wanted to create a path making it possible […]

Investigation of Maricopa County’s Election Day problems costing up to $1,000 an hour

By: - March 2, 2023

Maricopa County is spending nearly $1,000 for each hour that a team of investigators works to find out what went wrong on Election Day in November, according to new information obtained by Votebeat. The team — a retired Arizona Supreme Court justice, an election technology expert, the owner of a printer supply shop and a […]

David Stevens

Cochise County gives election skeptic recorder near full control of elections

By: - March 1, 2023

Elections in Cochise County will now be run almost entirely by Recorder David Stevens, an election skeptic who has said he does not fully trust all of his county’s election procedures and believes the county can and should move to hand-counting ballots. The Board of Supervisors for the southern Arizona county voted 2-1 on Tuesday […]

Election Integrity Unit’s pivot has both sides questioning whether it should exist at all

By: - February 23, 2023

Every year since 2019, Arizona lawmakers have instructed the state’s attorney general to spend a half-million dollars to staff an “election fraud unit,” with no further instructions. Democrats accused former Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, of using the unit for whatever was politically expedient, such as launching an investigation into Maricopa County’s 2020 election […]

David Stevens

How David Stevens is making Cochise County a ‘laboratory’ for election skepticism

By: - February 7, 2023

David Stevens had never supervised a ballot count. He didn’t know how he would count nearly 50,000 ballots by hand, who would help, or where he would find enough space to do it. But that didn’t dissuade him. Less than a month before the November election, Stevens, the Cochise County recorder, told the county supervisors […]

Cochise County’s elections director resigns after protecting midterm ballots from Republican officials

By: - January 26, 2023

During last fall’s fights in Cochise County over hand-counting ballots and rejecting the election results, county residents say they were glad there was one person standing up to defend elections. Elections Director Lisa Marra repeatedly explained — to the supervisors, to reporters, and, finally, to a judge — that she would not break the law […]

How six controversies from 2022 can help Arizona fix its elections now

By: - January 11, 2023

Every seat in the small lobby of the election headquarters was filled. With video cameras rolling and reporters kneeling on the floor, Maricopa County Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates apologized. “We will learn from it and do better,” Gates said, suited up behind a makeshift podium on Nov. 9, the windows behind him offering a glimpse […]

Pinal County’s election director got a $25,000 bonus after reporting inaccurate results

By: - January 5, 2023

Pinal County’s outgoing elections director collected a $25,000 bonus for running a smooth election despite reporting final results with significant inaccuracies, including around 500 uncounted votes in the neck-and-neck attorney general race. Virginia Ross, the former county recorder brought in to oversee the election on a short-term contract, either did not catch the mistakes or […]

Arizona GOP candidates’ lawsuits were a grab bag of flimsy claims

By: - December 21, 2022

After hearing a hodgepodge of claims from three losing GOP candidates alleging inaccuracies in the midterm election, Arizona judges rejected many of the most far-reaching and unsubstantiated claims, but are allowing other claims to move forward. While judges in Maricopa and Mohave counties this week shot down most of gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake’s claims and […]

Too big of a job: Why Maricopa County’s ballot printers failed on Election Day

By: - December 9, 2022

As Maricopa County investigates what exactly caused machines to reject thousands of voters’ ballots on Election Day, a Votebeat analysis of technical evidence found that local officials may have pushed the county’s ballot printers past their limits. The thickness of the ballot paper the county used, the need to print on both sides, and the […]

County supervisors in Arizona face intense public pressure to reject election results, but most certify anyway

By: - November 29, 2022

Lydia Abril placed a Bible on the podium, adjusted the microphone, and told the elected officials in front of her that she wanted to pass along a message from God. “Justice? You high and mighty politicians don’t even know the meaning of the word,” Abril read aloud from Psalm 58. The crowd behind her raised […]

Arizona counties will be forced to certify election despite ‘political theater’

By: - November 23, 2022

Amid a GOP campaign to pressure county supervisors across Arizona not to certify their elections, two counties have postponed their vote until the eleventh hour, raising questions about what happens if they fail to meet their deadline to finalize results. There’s a simple answer, according to election attorneys in the state: If counties do not […]