Maricopa County supervisors: State senate made voting equipment ‘unusable’ during audit

The county alleges Cyber Ninjas handling of the equipment rendered it unusable.
The county alleges Cyber Ninjas handling of the equipment rendered it unusable.(Source: KNXV/CNN)
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 8:08 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Maricopa County recently filed a claim against the Arizona State Senate, alleging senators cost the county nearly $3 million in election equipment after senators allowed an unqualified cybersecurity firm to handle the equipment, leaving it unfit to use in future elections.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors filed a claim recently against the state senators, alleging voting equipment was compromised and left unusable by the senate’s vendors, Cyber Ninjas, during the audit earlier this year.

County attorneys demanded $2,998,264.18, which it had incurred through the loss of that equipment and through delivering the equipment to the Senate beforehand.

According to the claim, Senate President Karen Fann and Sen. Warren Petersen on Jan. 12 served subpoenas to the Maricopa County Board, Recorder’s Office and Treasurer, commanding them to turn in certain items and testify about those items before senators the next morning.

The next morning, The Board Chairman, Recorder and Treasurer all appeared in court, but were told that no senator wanted to hear from them.

The county, unsure of whether it could lawfully turn in some of the items, filed a lawsuit against Fann. The lawsuit questioned whether the subpoenas were lawful, as they had only been filed by two senators.

The day a judge ruled the subpoenas were lawful, the county arranged to send 21 million ballots, 385 precinct-based tabulators, nine central count tabulators and other equipment to senators, but were told by Fann’s attorney to keep the equipment until the Senate could find a place to store them within the next few days.

In April, a county attorney asked that Fann compensate the county for any losses it incurred while sending the equipment, and Fann signed an agreement to do so the next day.

The county brought its equipment to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which the Senate stated it preferred.

The county was aware that the equipment would be taken to Cyber Ninjas, CyFir and WAKE TSI, none of which were accredited the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission.

The Arizona Secretary of State notified the county on May 20 that its equipment had been compromised and could not be used in any future elections due to “grave concerns” over its security and integrity.

“Election officials do not know what was done to the machines while under Cyber Ninjas’ control,” she wrote in a letter to the county.

She wrote she had consulted with several technology and security experts, including the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, who unanimously agreed that once officials lose control over its election machines, those machines should no longer be used.

Dominion Voting Systems, which the county leases its election equipment from, priced replacement equipment at $2.8 million.

The county also incurred $165,044.18 in costs to deliver the machines to the Senate.

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