HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s best election official has decertified the voting machines of a little southern county that disclosed that it had agreed to requests by community Republican lawmakers and permitted a computer software agency to examine the equipment as portion of an “audit” just after the 2020 election.
The action by Acting Secretary of Point out Veronica Degraffenreid nearly unquestionably means that Fulton County will have to purchase or lease new voting equipment.
The lawmakers’ request for the “audit” came amid previous President Donald Trump’s baseless promises that the 2020 election was rigged versus him in Pennsylvania and other battleground states.
Degraffenreid notified Fulton County officials in a letter Tuesday that the inspection violated point out law. It was done in a method that “was not clear or bipartisan” and the agency experienced “no understanding or experience in election technology,” Degraffenreid wrote.
“I have no other option but to decertify the use of Fulton County’s leased Dominion Democracy Suite 5.5A voting method very last employed in the November 2020 election,” Degraffenreid wrote.
Pennsylvania’s election legislation presents counties the duty to “maintain suitable chain of custody” of ballots and voting systems, necessities that assure that any election is performed transparently and that does not compromise voting methods, Degraffenreid wrote.
Voting techniques that go anti-tampering assessments are licensed by states. The U.S. Election Support commission accredits labs to take a look at voting devices and offers steerage to states on how to preserve a chain of custody above voting methods.
Degraffenreid designed the choice as a number of counties in Pennsylvania are pushing back in opposition to strain from some Republican point out lawmakers and their allies to present entry to their voting units for a “forensic investigation.”
In May well, Fulton County wrote to Degraffenreid to say that, beneath the supervision of the county’s information and facts technological innovation director, personnel of the West Chester-based program enterprise Wake TSI took backups of information on computer systems utilised in ballot-counting, “complete hard drive images” of the computer systems and ”complete images” of two thumb drives that had been utilized on election evening to transfer outcomes documents.
As a outcome of that obtain, neither Fulton County nor the vendor, Dominion Voting Devices, nor the Department of Condition “can validate that the impacted components of Fulton County’s leased voting method are secure to use in future elections,” Degraffenreid wrote.
Fewer than 8,000 persons in Fulton County voted in the 2020 election, backing Trump by pretty much 7-to-just one about Democrat Joe Biden. Biden went on to acquire Pennsylvania by a lot more than 80,000 votes.
Fulton County officers did not quickly reply to messages looking for remark. One particular of the Republican lawmakers who represents aspect of Fulton County, point out Sen. Judy Ward, R-Blair, declined remark Wednesday.
Wake TSI went on to perform briefly on a partisan “audit” in Arizona following the state’s Senate Republicans applied their subpoena energy to just take management of Maricopa County’s voting devices, a assessment fueled by Trump’s baseless claims.
Maricopa County final week authorized just about $3 million for new vote-counting devices, stating the devices ended up compromised due to the fact they ended up in the handle of corporations not accredited to take care of election products.
Secretary of Point out Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, experienced stated she would search for to decertify the machines if the county planned to use them again.
This story has been corrected to clearly show that the letter was dated Tuesday, not Wednesday.
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