AZ SOS Says Maricopa County Election Machines May Be Decertified

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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)

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