Senate GOP leader says county’s announcement yet another ‘attack on the audit’
Authorities in Maricopa County, Arizona, announced they will replace all voting machines following a Senate-ordered audit of the county’s 2020 election results.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which oversees elections in the county, issued a response to a letter sent by Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, saying the county “shares [her] concerns” that the integrity and security of the Dominion Voting Systems machines and ballots might have been compromised during the audit.
“Accordingly, I write to notify you that Maricopa County will not use the subpoenaed election equipment in any future election,” said the letter, dated Monday. And in a news release, the county pledged to “never use equipment that could pose a risk to free and fair elections,” suggesting that the auditors may have compromised the machines.
Hobbs, a Democrat, had written to the county in May that she has “grave concerns regarding the security and integrity of these machines, given that the chain of custody, a critical security tenet, has been compromised and election officials do not know what was done to the machines while under Cyber Ninjas’ control.” Cyber Ninjas is the Florida-based technology firm that helped with the audit, which was authorized earlier this year by the Republican-controlled state Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Karen Fann, a Republican, described Maricopa County’s letter as yet another “attack on the audit,” saying that the machines weren’t tampered with during the weekslong process.
“If their experts can’t prove the machines have not been tampered with,” she asked, “then how does the [Secretary of State’s office] or County Elections certify the machines before every audit to make sure the machines haven’t been tampered with?”
“We asked numerous times for this audit to be performed jointly with Maricopa County, at their facility, selecting a mutual auditor, and did not want the ballots or machines moved from their facilities,” Fann contended, referring to the legal tug-of-war between the state Senate and Maricopa’s executives.
And several Republicans praised the move to do away with the machines—but not for the reasons offered by Hobbs or the county officials.
“No more machines,” wrote Republican state Sen. Wendy Rogers on Twitter, alleging in another tweet that the machines are easily compromised. “Go back to the old way,” she also wrote in concurring with a tweet issued by GOP state Sen. Kelly Townsend.
Last week, the team overseeing the audit announced that both the paper examination and counting of the ballots were finished. Fann previously told The Epoch Times over the weekend said the team will meet within the next several days and will “formulate a plan and timeline moving forward,” with other officials suggesting the audit may be completed by the end of the summer.
Hobbs and Senate Republicans have gone back and forth in a war of words since the audit was proposed earlier this year, with the secretary of state characterizing it as a partisan operation designed to suppress voters and claimed auditors have operated with lax security.
But Republicans have disputed Hobbs’s and other Democrats’ assertions that the audit isn’t being done securely or professionally. Fann and other GOP senators have said the audit is necessary to restore the public’s confidence in the state’s election systems.
“Something went wrong,” he said on June 15, “because something goes wrong in every election.”
Meanwhile, if an audit reveals fraud, then there would be a referral to law enforcement authorities, Fann and other senators have previously said. And if fraud is revealed, according to her, they will focus on passing legislation to shore up any security flaws.
“If the audit illuminates that there’s [sic] vulnerabilities in X, Y, and Z parts of our election system, state legislatures can target those with a laser beam and fix X, Y, and Z parts of our election system,” Kolodin also said in the interview.
The Arizona state Senate turned over the Dominion machines to auditors to determine if any of the equipment was compromised, using a legislative subpoena issued in April to seize nine tabulating machines and 385 precinct tabulators. Dominion has categorically denied the allegations that their machines had any problems in Maricopa.
Other than the machines, the auditors, led by Cyber Ninjas, started reviewing some 2.1 million ballots at Phoenix’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum starting several weeks ago.