Voting machines compromised by Arizona audit could cost the state millions of dollars

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The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors said it will not reuse hundreds of voting machines subpoenaed by the Arizona Senate.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Monday announced that it will not reuse hundreds of vote-counting machines it fears were tainted by the shoddy Republican-forced audit of the county's 2020 election results, the Arizona Republic reported on Monday.

According to reports, the cost of the machines that won't be recertified was $6 million.

This comes as the latest scandal in the already scandal-plagued audit that opponents say has not followed proper procedures or even election law, and that experts say is being done solely to back up Donald Trump's lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him through fraud.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told the Republican-majority Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in May that she feared the audit — which was not following proper protocols and was being run by a company owned by a Trump-supporting conspiracy theorist — had compromised the machines and made them unusable in the future.

And on Monday, the board sent a letter to Hobbs saying that it agreed with her and that the machines will not be used in future elections, according to the Arizona Republic.

The county leased the machines from Dominion Voting Systems for $6.1 million, and was halfway through that lease, still owing $3.3 million as of May under its contract, which it was paying on a monthly basis.

Leasing new machines could cost millions, and it's unclear who will foot the bill. Hobbs said that the Arizona Senate had subpoenaed the machines and turned them over to contractors, thereby breaking the chain of custody that it had agreed in advance would not be the responsibility of the county while it had control of the machines.

The board of supervisors told the Arizona Republic that it hasn't decided whether it will ask the Senate to cover the costs of replacing the machines.

The audit has been plagued by scandals since it began.

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann hired Cyber Ninjas to run the audit. Cyber Ninjas is run by Doug Logan, a Trump supporter who helped push voter fraud lies to aid the failed effort to overturn Trump's loss.

Logan appears in a film called "The Deep Rig" that premiered over the weekend. It includes lies about the 2020 election that repeat QAnon claims, and its producers claim that all profits from the film will go to fund the audit.

Observers witnessed auditors not following proper protocol, including using pens that could have been used to alter ballots and leaving ballots unsecured.

The Department of Justice has raised concerns that the entire audit may be in violation of federal law.

Even some Republicans have called for it to end, including one GOP state senator who initially supported the review.

"It makes us look like idiots," Sen. Paul Boyer said in May. "Looking back, I didn't think it would be this ridiculous. It's embarrassing to be a state senator at this point."

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to Fann in May in which they demanded an end to the audit.

The board accused the GOP-controlled Senate of acting in bad faith, saying it has "no intention of learning anything about the November 2020 General Election, but is only interested in feeding the various festering conspiracy theories that fuel the fundraising schemes of those pulling your strings."

Polling conducted in May found that the audit is also unpopular with voters in Arizona, and a GOP consulting firm in the state warned that it could hurt Republicans' chances in the 2022 midterm elections.

That has not deterred Republicans in Arizona, nor has it deterred Republicans in other states, who are looking to use the Maricopa County audit as a model for examining their own election results.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.