Despite the fact that election results were certified in favor of President Joe Biden months ago, Arizona Republicans, peddling familiar election conspiracy theories, are insisting that Donald Trump won the state.
Ms. Hobbs, called the process "a significant departure from standard best practices".
The recount effort, led by the Florida-based cybersecurity company Cyber Ninjas, has increased its capacity by adding more tables at which groups of three workers count votes for president and U.S. Senate on ballots.
The effort has no official standing and will not change the state's vote, whatever it finds.
"We have a concern that Maricopa County election records, which are required by federal law to be retained and preserved, are no longer under the ultimate control of elections officials, are not being adequately safeguarded by contractors, and are at risk of damage or loss", Karlan wrote in the letter addressed to Fann.
The recount of Maricopa County's almost 2.1 million ballots was ordered by the GOP-led state Senate, despite the fact that county officials, as well as state and federal judges, found no merit to claims that the vote was tainted by fraud or other problems. After Trump lost the state by around 10,000 votes past year, the same legislators spent months questioning the results.
In Arizona, the review is proving to be every bit as problematic as skeptics had imagined.
Senate Republicans and Cyber Ninjas have fought in state court over the past few weeks to hide details about the audit, arguing that they are protected by legislative immunity and the need to preserve trade secrets. After a legal battle, an Arizona judge sided with the Senate when it issued a subpoenaed for the Maricopa County ballots and election machines.
The warning comes amid scrutiny over the audit of almost 2.1 million ballots from Arizona's largest county, Maricopa, where election officials previously found no evidence of widespread voter fraud or other issues during the state's 2020 presidential election.
Enlarge this image
At this time no evidence of voter fraud has been reported in Maricopa County from this audit. Cyber Ninjas in particular has been criticized for a lack of qualification to review the election and for the apparent bias of its CEO, Doug Logan, who's promoted conspiracies of election fraud on social media.
Critics have warned that the GOP-led audit sets a precedent for partisan election reviews that could be replicated in future Arizona elections and elsewhere, run by firms without election audit and recount experience.
Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman has been known to call out her party in the past when they make a move she disagrees with, and she recently called out Republicans in Arizona for the recount that's being done now of the 2020 election results.
In one much-noted instance, Anthony Kern, a former state representative photographed on the Capitol steps on the day of the insurrection - and who was on the Maricopa ballot both as a legislative candidate and as a presidential elector - was hired to help recount ballots. Counters receive "on the fly" training. Ballots from separate stacks are mixed together. "It's an event. And the problem is that now they've contaminated all of those ballots".
In light of the Arizona audit, several Facebook posts have been widely circulating that claim several thousands of fraudulent have been found in the audit thus far.
John Brakey, an official helping supervise the effort, said high-powered microscopes were being used to search for evidence of fake ballots, according to a video interview with the CBS News affiliate in Phoenix. "And it came from the southeast part of the world, Asia, OK". He added that he does not believe that theory. "I'm just saying it's part of the mystery that we want to un-gaslight people about". How much in outside donations has been collected - and who the donors are - is unclear.
It also appeared that the task of entering recount results into an electronic spreadsheet was performed by a single person rather than a team of people from both political parties, the letter stated. In late April, Fann's liaison, former Secretary of State Ken Bennett, told reporters they'd pick up the pace after getting off to a slow start.
She doesn't know if it is a "great thing".
Hobbs said the auditors were able to provide no information as to how they will go about adding up information from the tens of thousands of hand-completed tally sheets being produced by employees as they sift through ballots.