Arizona Secretary of State Says Maricopa County Election Machines May Be Decertified

House 2016 Arizona 5th District An Arizona elections official at the Maricopa County Recorder's Office inserts ballots into a machine to recount the votes in the 5th Congressional District race Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, in Phoenix. Arizona officials on Tuesday began counting thousands of ballots in the razor-thin Republican primary …
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, sent a letter to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Thursday warning that she may decertify the election machines used by the county in the 2020 election that were turned over to the organization conducting the Arizona State Senate audit of those election results.

Hobbs wrote in her letter:

I am writing to express my concerns about Maricopa County’s election equipment that was turned over to Senate President Karen Fann and Senator Warren Petersen and their agent, Cyber Ninjas, pursuant to the January 12, 2021 subpoena, including components of the certified Dominion Democracy Suite 5.5B voting system. I understand Cyber Ninjas has begun returning the election equipment to the County. I have 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.
Indeed, such loss of custody constitutes a cyber incident to critical infrastructure—an event that could jeopardize the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of digital information or information systems. Therefore, my Office consulted with election technology and security experts, including at the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, regarding the appropriate next steps, and each unanimously advised that once election officials lose custody and control over voting systems and components, those devices should not be reused in future elections. Rather, decommissioning and replacing those devices is the safest option as no methods exist to adequately ensure those machines are safe to use in future elections. As such, my Office is urging the County not to re-deploy any of the subpoenaed machines that it turned over to the Senate in any future elections. Instead, the County should acquire new machines to ensure secure and accurate elections in Maricopa County going forward. . .

Considering the potential impact of decommissioning the subpoenaed equipment, including on taxpayer dollars and County operations, my Office did not reach this decision lightly. However, given the circumstances and ongoing concerns regarding the handling and security of the equipment, I believe the County can agree that this is the only path forward to ensure secure and accurate elections in Maricopa County in the future. . .

If the County intends to re-deploy the subpoenaed equipment, over which the County lost custody and control, for use in future Arizona elections, please notify my Office as soon as possible, and no later than July 1, 2021, so that we may properly consider decertification proceedings pursuant to A.R.S. § 16-442 as to the subpoenaed equipment. (emphasis added)

Arizona State Senator Warren Petersen (R-12) responded to Secretary Hobbs’ claim that “once election officials lose custody and control over voting systems and components, those devices should not be reused in future elections,” from his Twitter account Friday afternoon:

Fox 10 Phoenix reported on the response from one Maricopa County official:

The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office responded [to the Secretary of State’s letter] with this statement:

“We have received the letter from the Secretary of State expressing her concerns about the elections equipment that was subpoenaed by the Senate. That letter is being reviewed by our attorneys and they will advise us before we take any next steps.”

The audit of Maricopa County’s November 2020 election results ordered by the Arizona State Senate began on April 23 and may continue into the summer.

The audit has been vigorously resisted by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and election officials, all of whom refused to attend a hearing to which they were invited and asked to address election audit issues on Tuesday presided over by Arizona State Senate President Karen Fann, as Breitbart News reported:

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors refused an invitation to meet with the Arizona State Senate to discuss how to resolve issues surrounding a State Senate authorized audit of the November 3, 2020 election results in Maricopa County in a sharply worded letter sent on Monday.

“We will not attend your meeting on May 18, 2021,” the supervisors wrote.

“In your letter, you invite us to attend a meeting at the Arizona State Capitol on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, at 1:00 p.m., and you request that we bring Election Department officials who would have knowledge of our elections procedures,” they continued.

“We will not be attending. We will not be responding to any additional inquiries from your ‘auditors.’ Their failure to understand basic election processes is an indication you didn’t get the best people to perform in your political theatre.”

The meeting was held on Tuesday, despite the failure of any Maricopa County officials to attend.

“We hoped that this meeting would have been a little bit different today, because we had so many questions, you had questions. Unfortunately, the [Maricopa County] Board of Supervisors did not want to join us,” Arizona State Senate President Karen Fann said to open the meeting at the Arizona State Capital on Tuesday.

Fann went on to say:

The purpose of why we are doing this is the audit in particular is, as many may or may not know, this has nothing to do with overtuning the election or decertifying electors or anything else. It never has been about that… what this about is the Arizona Senate, we are in charge of creating, passing laws, and ensuring that elections are done properly, accurately, safely, with full election integrity.

KTAR reported on the details of that meeting:

A day after the Maricopa County of Board of Supervisors called for the audit of 2020 election results to end, the Arizona Senate said it will resume as planned on Monday.

“This is our job, we owe it to our constituents to get their questions answered,” Fann said during a meeting Tuesday. “I have said from the get-go, I’m relatively sure we’re not going to find anything of any magnitude that would imply that any intentional wrongdoing was going.”

Fann was joined by fellow Republican Sen. Warren Petersen, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as Senate audit liaison Ken Bennett, Cyber Ninjas owner Doug Logan and CyFIR founder Ben Cotton to discuss its controversial Maricopa County election audit.

You can watch that May 18 Arizona State Senate meeting here.

On Wednesday, the official Twitter account of the Arizona State Senate audit liaison to Maricopa County released this statement from Ben Cotton of Cyfir:

My testimony on May 19th before the AZ Senate is being taken out of context by some media outlets. To confirm: the “Databases” directory on the EMS Primary Server WAS deleted containing the voting databases.

I was able to recover the deleted databases through forensic data recovery processes. We are performing data continuity checks to ensure that the recovered databases are usable.

Later on Wednesday, the Epoch Times reported:

 Some reports, including articles from The Associated Press and CNN, alleged auditors had “backtracked” from or “reversed” allegations that files were deleted from a machine. . .

[Arizona State Senate President Karen] Fann told The Epoch Times on May 20 that there was no backtracking of the deletion claims.

“The file was deleted but Cyfir was able to recover it from other areas. But yes, the file had been deleted on that portion of the drive,” she wrote in an email.

Partisan emotions in Arizona are running high as the Arizona State Senate audit of the Maricopa County 2020 election results continues.

On Wednesday, “a suspicious package” containing a white substance was delivered to the office of Arizona State Senate President Fann, as ABC 15 reported:

Mike Philipsen, director of communications for the Arizona State Senate, said in an email Thursday that on Wednesday afternoon “an assistant in President Fann’s office opened a letter addressed to the President. A small amount of substance was observed from the mailing.”

“Out of an abundance of caution, the assistant contacted the Department of Public Safety, and its Hazmat team was alerted.”

Philipsen said tests were performed at the Senate building and came back negative. He did not identify what the substance was.

Secretary of State Hobbs, a far left Democrat, was narrowly elected in 2018 and is expected to run for statewide office again in 2022, either for governor or secretary of state.

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