Arizona’s Maricopa County says it is replacing all the voting machines that were inspected in the GOP ballot recount, citing concerns they were tampered with

Maricopa county recount arizona
Contractors examining and recounting Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. Matt York/AP
  • The GOP-backed 2020 election audit in Maricopa County, Arizona, is still underway.
  • Contractors have been recounting election ballots and examining voting machines.
  • The county said it wouldn’t use the equipment again, citing concerns they could have been tampered with.
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Maricopa County, Arizona, has said that it not use the voting equipment that were inspected as part of the state’s GOP-led ballot recount, citing concerns they were tampered with.

“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 Monday statement.

“As a result, the County will not use the subpoenaed equipment in any future elections.”

Private contractors working on behalf of the Arizona State Senate have been examining and recounting 2.1 million ballots from November’s presidential election since April 23, as well as scrutinizing more than 390 tabulating machines.

President Joe Biden won Maricopa County – Arizona’s most populous county – by more than 45,000 votes, but many Republicans and former President Donald Trump have claimed that votes were stolen to rig the election.

Maricopa County’s Monday statement was in response to a May 20 letter from Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who has long been critical of the recount, in which she said the contractors hired for the audit had not taken enough steps to ensure voting equipment wasn’t tampered with.

“The lack of physical security and transparency means we cannot be certain who accessed the voting equipment and what might have been done to them,” Hobbs’ letter said.

Maricopa county cyber ninjas
Contractors working for Cyber Ninjas, who was hired by the Arizona State Senate, examine and recount ballots from the 2020 general election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 1, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

Earlier this month Hobbs also suggested that the audit was “prime for cooking the books.”

Read more: 
Opinion: Cyber Ninjas, bamboo, and Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ – Arizona’s ridiculous ‘recount’ is a GOP disgrace

According to the county, the tabulators were leased from Dominion Voting Systems, a voting-technology company that has been the focus of multiple conspiracy theories about the election. Two independent firms, Pro V&V and SLI Compliance, conducted the audit of the tabulation equipment, according to the county.

The audit of the ballots, conducted by Cyber Ninjas, has been criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike, and labeled a farce.

In May, the GOP-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors called the recount a “sham” and a “con,” and on June 12, Stephen Richer, a Republican who serves as Maricopa County recorder, said the recount was “insane just from a competence standpoint.”

In March, Sen. Rebecca Rios, the Democratic Party leader in the Arizona state Senate, said the planned recount was “a charade” that was “keeping the flame of fraud lit.”

A report from the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, released this month, concluded that the Maricopa County recount “lacks the essential elements” of a credible review.