Maricopa County officials have decided to replace the election equipment that was subpoenaed by Arizona Senate Republicans for the purpose of auditing the 2020 general-election results. The decision was announced Monday in response to a letter from Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state, to the county’s Board of Supervisors.
State Republicans enlisted the services of a little-known cybersecurity firm with no election-auditing experience called Cyber Ninjas to oversee the audits in Maricopa, home of the state’s capital, Phoenix. Some peculiarities have been noted in how the firm has conducted the audit, including security lapses and even the scanning of ballots for bamboo fibers because of a false conspiracy theory that ballots were shipped to the state from Asia. Cyber Ninja’s CEO has also appeared in a new conspiracy theorist film regarding the election.
Arizona certified the 2020 election results back in November , declaring Joe Biden the winner. But the state has been at the center of countless false theories that claim the election was stolen from Donald Trump through fraud.
“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,” Hobbs wrote in May.
Hobbs stated that her office spoke to security experts including some from the Department of Homeland Security and that they all advised that the machines shouldn’t be reused, but rather decommissioned and replaced.
“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,” she said.
Joseph La Rue, deputy Maricopa County attorney responded to Hobbs, writing on behalf of the supervisors, “The Board shares your concerns.”
He added the county “will not use the subpoenaed election equipment in any future election.”
The Arizona Republic reports that Maricopa County is leasing the machines from Dominion Voting Systems for $6.1 million and that the county is halfway through the three years agreed upon.