Pennsylvania county's voting machines decertified after audit

A Pennsylvania county’s voting machines were decertified after they were subjected to an audit.

In a letter to the Fulton County Board of Elections on Tuesday, acting Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Veronica Degraffenreid said the machines used during the November 2020 election were compromised as a result of the audit conducted by software company Wake TSI.

Fulton County officials previously told Degraffenreid that they allowed Wake TSI to access certain components of their election system, including their “election database, results files, and Windows system logs,” the letter states.

ADVERTISEMENT

The county also allowed the company to use a “system imaging tool to take complete hard drive images of these computers” and “complete images of two USB thumb drives” used to transfer election results.

Degraffenreid said the machines had been compromised as a result of the audit. She said neither the county, state officials, nor Dominion Voting Systems could “verify that the impacted components of Fulton County’s leased voting system are safe to use in future elections.”

The Secretary further said the audit in question was taken in a manner that was “not transparent or bipartisan.”

“I have no other choice but to decertify the use of Fulton County’s leased Dominion Democracy Suite 5.5A voting system last used in the November 2020 election,” Degraffenreid wrote.

The decision almost certainly means that Fulton County, a rural area on the border with Maryland and home to 14,845 residents, will have to purchase or lease new voting machines from Dominion or another company.

The decision to hand the machines over to Wake TSI came after a request from state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), a staunch ally of former President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE who promoted conspiracy theories about the election and arranged buses of supporters to head to the January 6 “stop the steal” rally that became an insurrection.

ADVERTISEMENT

Wake TSI is one of the companies involved in a post-election audit of Maricopa County ballots ordered by the Arizona state Senate’s Republican majority. Maricopa County supervisors, four out of five of whom are Republicans, voted last week to scrap their machines after they lost custody and to lease new ones, at a cost of nearly $3 million of taxpayer dollars. 

Mastriano and state Sen. Judy Ward (R), who represents Fulton County, made the formal request of county election administrators to hand over the machines.

Fulton County officials have said they do not know who is paying for the Pennsylvania audit, though they say it is necessary to instill confidence in the 2020 election results. 

Several other Republican-led counties in Pennsylvania have refused Mastriano’s request for access to their ballot-counting machines for the same reason that Degraffenreid cited.

Reid Wilson contributed to this report that was updated at 4:18 p.m.