ARIZONA NEWS

Maricopa County commits nearly $3M to replace voting equipment after audit

Jul 14, 2021, 11:56 AM | Updated: 3:32 pm
Maricopa County elections staffers take inventory before retrieving machines auditors finished insp...
Maricopa County elections staffers take inventory before retrieving machines auditors finished inspecting. (Twitter Photo/@MaricopaVote)
(Twitter Photo/@MaricopaVote)

PHOENIX – Maricopa County on Wednesday committed nearly $3 million to replace election equipment that officials say can’t be reused after it was in the hands of uncertified auditors.

The Republican-led Board of Supervisors in metro Phoenix voted to amend the county’s contract with Dominion Voting Systems to cover the cost of 385 precinct tabulators and nine central counters, plus related election management hardware.

“The frustrating thing is, those were perfectly good machines which passed all of our accuracy tests from the time we first got them in 2019,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers said in a press release.

“The taxpayer paid good money for them, but now this equipment will have to be decommissioned because the Senate didn’t take our warnings about chain-of-custody seriously.”

Maricopa County’s lease deal with Dominion runs through the end of 2022. Adding the new equipment increases the cost of the contract from $6.1 million to $9 million, according to the county.

“Imagine leasing a car and then loaning it to someone who totals it. You’re still on the hook to pay off the wrecked car. Plus, you need a new car. That’s basically what we’re doing with this amendment,” Sellers said.

“We’re getting the car that will get us through the next year and a half and then we’ll reevaluate.”

It’s not clear whether the county will try passing the additional expense along to the state Senate, although Sellers hinted that might be the case.

“I’m just glad we had the Senate sign that indemnification contract,” he said.

In May, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told the county that the machines subpoenaed by state Senate Republicans are compromised and would be decertified.

“A broad percentage of the Arizona public would not have confidence in these machines after the Cyber Ninjas returned them,” Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican who defeated Democratic incumbent Adrian Fontes in 2020, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Wednesday.

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann hired Cyber Ninjas to lead several other contractors to examine voting equipment and conduct a hand recount of nearly 2.1 million ballots from the November 2020 general election in Arizona’s largest county.

The audit began April 23 and is still going, with results not expected until late July or August. Only two races that Democrats won — president and U.S. Senate – were tallied in the recount.

Maricopa County officials and others have questioned the methods, competence and motives of Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based cybersecurity firm with no previous experience in election audits.

“When Senate leadership chose novices to conduct their audit rather than reputable, certified companies, they wasted an expensive investment that had served Maricopa County voters well in 2019 and 2020,” Sellers said.

The Board of Supervisors, which consists of four Republicans and one Democrat, previously authorized two audits by independent contractors who are certified by the National Institute for Standards and Technology and the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission.

Those audits found no problems, but state Senate Republicans subpoenaed the county for access to the election materials at the urging of supporters of Donald Trump who refused to accept President Joe Biden’s narrow victory Maricopa County and statewide.

Fann selected Cyber Ninjas’ bid of just $150,000 to conduct an audit that will likely end up costing millions. Several private campaigns have been launched to raise funds in the name of the audit, but there is no public record of where the money is coming from.

Fann has said the aim of the process is to restore faith in the election system and find ways to improve Arizona’s voting laws, not to reverse the result of the election.

However, many Trump supporters still see it as a step toward invalidating Biden’s victory and returning Trump to office.

Supervisor Steve Gallardo, the board’s only Democrat, made it clear who he thinks is to blame for the situation the county finds itself in.

“We’re in this position because you have Trump and Trump loyalists who continue to want to undermine our democracy, undermine the will of the voters and really utilize this whole fake audit as a way not only to push what ultimately is a big lie that is based on unfounded claims, that is now being utilized just to raise money for political purposes,” Gallardo said during Wednesday’s board meeting.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook photo / State Farm Stadium)...
Associated Press

Glendale adopts new short-term rental regulations ahead of Super Bowl

Glendale has preemptively adopted rules regulating short-term rental properties before the city welcomes visitors for the 2023 Super Bowl.
18 hours ago
(Pexels photo)...
KTAR.com

Arizona sees significant jobs increase in April, per employment report

The state of Arizona saw a 13,100 jobs increase in the month of April, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority's monthly report.
18 hours ago
(Pexels photo)...
KTAR.com

Rio Salado’s Dental Clinic offering free dental work to Arizona’s veterans on Saturday

Arizona's veterans can receive free dental cleanings, dentures, fillings, oral surgery and crowns Saturday at Rio Salado’s Dental Clinic.
18 hours ago
A 9mm pistol build kit with a commercial slide and barrel with a polymer frame is displayed during ...
KTAR.com

Felon from Arizona convicted of firearm, ammo possession, including ‘ghost gun’

An Arizona felon was found guilty of illegally possessing over 20 firearms, including a “ghost gun,” and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
18 hours ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
KTAR.com

2 Arizona men sentenced to prison after scamming government out of $500K in false tax refunds

Two men from Arizona were recently sentenced to prison after scamming the federal government out of $500,000 in false tax refunds, authorities said Thursday.
18 hours ago
Urban core of Metrocenter redevelopment plans (RSP Architects Rendering)...
KTAR.com

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley, charter school plan campus in Phoenix’s Metrocenter area

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley and charter school Vista College Preparatory announced plans on Friday to open a campus at the reimagined Metrocenter area in north Phoenix.
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Have you gotten your booster shot?

Do you remember when you got your last COVID-19 vaccination? If it has been more than five months since you completed your primary vaccination series, it’s time for you to get your booster. You may be eligible even sooner depending which vaccine you received. If you are over the age of 50 and received your […]
(Twitter photo / Coco5)...
Coco5

Suns star Devin Booker’s all-natural sports drink Coco5 perfect for any activity

Devin Booker is leading the Suns in pursuit of their first NBA championship while also working to provide people proper hydration with Coco5.
...
DAY & NIGHT AIR CONDITIONING, HEATING AND PLUMBING

In Sonoran heat, prevent costly AC repairs with an annual tune-up

As winter has finally passed and the days are becoming warmer, now is a good time to be sure your AC unit is polished and ready to run.
Maricopa County commits nearly $3M to replace voting equipment after audit