Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), the state’s chief elections officer, advised Maricopa County Thursday that it should replace all voting machines that were turned over to a private contractor for an audit of the 2020 presidential election, citing “grave concerns regarding the security and integrity” of the machines that make themunusable for future elections.
Hobbs’ guidance, outlined in a letter to county officials, is the latest fallout from a review of the election ordered by Republicans in the Arizona state Senate, who used a subpoena to order the county to turn over voting machines and nearly 2.1 million ballots to reexamine last fall’s vote.
The chief executive of the private company hired to conduct the audit has echoed false allegations that the election was stolen, and the process has been widely criticized by election experts as insecure and unprofessional.
Millions of dollars worth of Maricopa’s voting equipment used in the 2020 election — including nine tabulating machines used at a central counting facility and 385 precinct-based tabulators — were removed from a county facility and placed in the custody of Florida-based company Cyber Ninjas at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the review in late April.
In her letter, Hobbs wrote that after the machines were handed over to the Senate and Cyber Ninjas, “it is unclear what, if any procedures were in place or followed to ensure physical security and proper chain of custody.” She noted that no election official or observer was allowed to remain with the machines while Cyber Ninjas and its subcontractors examined them.
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