ARIZONA NEWS

Maricopa County files $2.8M notice of claim over election equipment costs

Aug 18, 2021, 3:15 PM
(AP Photo/Matt York, Pool)...
(AP Photo/Matt York, Pool)
(AP Photo/Matt York, Pool)

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors filed a $2.8 million notice of claim Wednesday over the cost of replacing its election equipment following the Arizona Senate’s audit of 2020 results.

The Republican-led Board of Supervisors in metro Phoenix argued that Senate President Karen Fann agreed in April to indemnify the county for losses that might occur as a result of transferring election materials to the Senate.

“Senate President Karen Fann has to take ownership of this failed audit,” Steve Gallardo, the only Democrat on the Board of Supervisors, told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “I hope she stands and honors her word to Maricopa County on this particular issue.”

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.

Senate liaison Ken Bennett told KTAR News on Wednesday he hadn’t seen the notice of claim but called Hobbs’ declaration to decertify the machines “arbitrary and capricious.”

“I will comment that there was nothing done to the equipment while in our possession that makes it unusable,” Bennett said.

The Board of Supervisors in metro Phoenix voted in July 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.

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.

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 next week. 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.

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.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Peter Samore contributed to this report.

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Maricopa County files $2.8M notice of claim over election equipment costs