Oops, Arizona's Phony Election 'Audit' Made Hundreds Of Voting Machines Unsafe To Use
Here's one for your "Gosh who could have seen this coming, oh right, anyone" file! Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs sent a letter Thursday to Maricopa County officials to let them know that the fake "audit" of the 2020 election probably ruined hundreds of voting machines the county sent for "testing" under a subpoena from the state Senate. Since there's no knowing whether Cyber Ninjas, the QAnon enthusiasts running the audit, had messed up the machines, they can't safely be used again in future elections.
Once the machines were no longer under Maricopa County's control, Hobbs explained, the "chain of custody" was broken, leaving her with "grave concerns regarding the the security and integrity of these machines," she wrote. Hobbs said that she had consulted with election security experts at the federal Department of Homeland Security, who advised her that there was no way to tell whether the machines were still safe to use. The best thing to do with the things, she advised Maricopa County, would be to throw them out and buy new ones.
Hooray for the "voting integrity" wackaloons! They made good and sure those voting machines, which they assumed were corrupt in the first place, won't be used again. And it'll only cost millions of dollars to replace them.
In the letter, Hobbs warns that the loss of custody "constitutes a cyber incident to critical infrastructure—an event that could jeopardize the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of digital information or information systems." So her office got in touch with DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, where the tech boffins
unanimously advised that once election officials lose custody and control over voting systems and components, those devices should not be reused in future elections. Rather, decommissioning and replacing those devices is the safest option as no methods exist to adequately ensure those machines are safe to use in future elections. As such, my Office is urging the County not to re-deploy any of the subpoenaed machines that it turned over to the Senate in any future elections. Instead, the County should acquire new machines to ensure secure and accurate elections in Maricopa County going forward.
The letter then details the Arizona election procedures required to certify that voting machines haven't been tampered with, and notes that it is "unclear what, if any, procedures were in place or followed to ensure physical security and proper chain of custody." Worse, she notes that her observers, and even news reports, saw clear "security lapses."
Hobbs then delivers the bad news: Nope, there's just no trusting these machines, because,
no comprehensive methods exist to fully rehabilitate the compromised equipment or provide adequate assurance that they remain safe to use. While the machines could be put through an intensive and costly forensic examination by an accredited, national forensics laboratory, even after such forensic examination, machines are generally not recommissioned given that the forensic analysis cannot be guaranteed to locate all potential problems.
If Maricopa County were to try to reuse the machines, she warns, her office might have little choice but to decertify them, meaning that Maricopa County really can't use them legally for any more elections.
The Arizona Republic points out that Maricopa County supervisors had "warned months ago, when they were fighting the Senate's subpoenas in court," that something like this might happen, you dopes.
In a December lawsuit against the audit, the county's attorneys argued that if the machines were fiddled around with by any "auditor" not certified by the US Election Assistance Commission — which the Cyberdickweeds most definitely are not — that could "void the certification and could cause the secretary of state to de-certify the equipment."
We suppose the Maricopa County supervisors may now at least have the grim satisfaction of muttering "Told you so."
How much equipment will have to be replaced? Rather a lot!
In response to the subpoenas, the county gave the Senate nine large high-speed ballot-counting machines that process ballots at the tabulation center (known as central count tabulators), 385 ballot-counting machines used at vote centers (known as precinct-based tabulators), along with the servers and equipment used to support those devices.
The contractors have returned much of this, but still have the precinct-based tabulators.
Fortunately — for Maricopa County, at least — the county signed an indemnification agreement with the state Senate making very clear that the county would not have to pay for any costs if the voting machines ended up being
damaged, altered or otherwise compromised while in the Senate's custody and control, including without limitation expenses associated with procuring new equipment, certifying any such new equipment for use for elections in Arizona, and re-certifying its current equipment
So hooray, the taxpayers of the entire state will be on the hook for the cost of replacing all that voting equipment. Or at least the state — and/or the Cyber Assholes — should have to pay up for trashing Maricopa County's machines, once every entity involved has finished the costly lawsuits that are sure to erupt from this fuck-tussle.
And just think, Trumpers want this to happen in even more states, to make America great and stuff. After all, Arizona's secretary of state now admits that voting machines are so tainted that they can't be trusted, doesn't she?
Funeral services for American Democracy have not yet been scheduled yet, but we'll keep you updated.
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