from the nice-work,-cyber-idiots dept
The libs have been owned. They’ve been owned so thoroughly that Maricopa County, Arizona is going to need to buy millions of dollars of new electronic voting machines.
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 security and integrity of these machines,” she wrote.
Before we get into the more expensive implications of this, let’s backtrack a little to see how this came to be.
For months leading up to the 2020 presidential election, President Donald Trump and his enablers claimed the upcoming election would be fraudulent. Suspecting he was on his way out, Trump ramped up his baseless claims that everything from voting machines to mail-in votes couldn’t be trusted.
Once he had lost, the claims went into overdrive. The election had been “stolen.” Hundreds of true believers stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 with the intent of preventing the election from being certified as a win for Joe Biden.
The claims of fraud continued. Nobody could prove any fraudulent activity had occurred but Trump and his acolytes continued to insist Trump had been illegally removed from power. This group of idiots included several Congressional reps and Senators. It also included everyone from a pillow salesman to a cybersecurity “expert” who claimed his inability to properly compose a tweet was evidence of malicious hacking.
Welcome to Maricopa County, where everyday is another scene cut from “Veep” because it was considered too improbable. State senate Republicans hired the ridiculous-sounding “Cyber Ninjas” to perform “America’s Audit” (called this despite the fact it’s confined to a single county in a single state) — a recount of every vote in the county.
Since then, it’s been fiascoes piled on debacles piled on a foundation of conspiracy theories. It started with auditors working with blue pens that could be used to change ballots. Auditors are only supposed to use red pens, which can’t be read by auditing equipment and voting machines.
That’s the most sane part of this. The CEO of the Cyber Ninjas has tweeted out stuff about “stopping the steal.” The audit is partially financed by One America News Network, one of several entities sued for defamation by Dominion Voting Systems. At one point, auditors were using UV lights and 5k cameras to search for traces of bamboo, following up on the absurd claim that a box of filled ballots had been shipped in from China. How this was supposed to prove a link between ballots and China is best left to the brain geniuses at Cyber Ninja, who probably assume nothing is above slanty-eyed furriners and their desire to elect Sleepy Joe.
Even the Republican-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors found the whole thing appalling. Its scathing letter to state Senate leadership pointed out the auditors’ inexperience and apparent inability to count and said the whole thing was nothing more than the state Senate placing election integrity in the hands of “grifters and con artists.”
This brings us back to the latest insanity. The voting machines were turned over to the Cyber Ninjas, who then acted as though chain-of-custody isn’t that big of a deal. Since they followed none of the steps needed to ensure the machines remained intact and secure, the county has no choice but to decertify them once the Ninjas are done entertaining their “stolen election” fantasies. This isn’t just the Secretary of State saying this. This is also the DHS’s election security experts.
[DHS officials] 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 many as 358 machines may be affected by the actions of cybersecurity “experts” who have no previous experience with either election security or conducting a vote audit. The total cost for replacement could be more than $6 million.
The only upshot is that local residents won’t be paying for these. Thanks to the agreement reached with the so-called auditors, Maricopa County isn’t responsible for costs like these. No, it will be the entire state paying for the clusterfuck that is “America’s Audit.” The state is on the hook. And with lawsuits already flying, taxpayers will be out even more money no matter what the outcome of this litigation is. And it all could have been prevented by either 1) hiring competent people to conduct the audit or 2) Senate Republicans not indulging the worst members and supporters of their party.