Arizona’s Maricopa County to Replace Machines Seized by GOP-Led Audit, Citing Security Concerns

Election workers count ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix, Ariz., November 6, 2020. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

Maricopa County, Ariz. said Monday that it plans to replace voting equipment that was subpoenaed by the Republican-led state Senate for its review of the 2020 presidential election.

The machines will be removed from service and replaced over concerns that the process compromised the security of the equipment. Officials from the state’s largest county did not provide estimates of the cost but have said in the past that the machines cost millions of dollars.

“The voters of Maricopa County can rest assured, the County will never use equipment that could pose a risk to free and fair elections,” the county said in a statement. “As a result, the County will not use the subpoenaed equipment in any future elections.”

The GOP-controlled state Senate seized voting equipment, including nine tabulating machines used at a central counting facility and 385 precinct-based tabulators, with a legislative subpoena in late April. 

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The decision to replace all of the county’s voting machines came after Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, warned in a letter last month that she might decertify the machines if they were not removed from service over concerns that their security had been compromised during the review.

The audit, led by the Florida-based company Cyber Ninjas, included the subpoenaing of nearly 2.1 million ballots from Maricopa County. While a hand recount has been completed, audit organizers have said they will not release the results of the review until August.

The county’s Republican-led leadership claimed in a letter to the state Senate last month that the audit had turned the state into a “laughingstock.”

“Worse, this ‘audit’ is encouraging our citizens to distrust elections, which weakens our democratic republic,” they wrote.

“Your ‘audit,’ which you once said was intended to increase voters’ confidence in our electoral process, has devolved into a circus,” the officials added.

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