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Replacing election equipment given to Arizona election audit will cost $2.8 million

Maricopa County election audit
Posted at 2:45 PM, Jul 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 18:38:54-04

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is voting on an agenda item Wednesday to replace the election equipment subpoenaed by the Arizona State Senate for their review of the county’s 2.1 million ballots still ongoing at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. The cost of replacement is around $2.8 million.

This past May, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, sent a letter to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors stating her office had been advised by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding election equipment that “once election officials lose custody and control over voting systems and components, those devices should not be reused in future elections.”

The Republican-dominated Board of Supervisors agreed with the secretary in a letter they sent on June 28, telling her office that they would be replacing the equipment.

The contract to replace the equipment comes in the form of an amendment to the existing contract with Dominion Voting Systems. The largest expense in the contract is the replacement of 385 precinct ballot counters at a total of $1,732,500.

While the county has received most of the equipment back from the Senate, the precinct tabulators remain in the Senate’s custody due to a dispute regarding administrator passwords that the county claims they do not have.

The county election department had leased the election equipment which saw its first widespread use in 2018 for a total cost of $6.1 million which included maintenance. The $2.8 million being considered would be on top of that cost.

The county has been fully indemnified by the State Senate for the cost incurred due to the subpoenaed equipment. The Board of Supervisors has not made a request to the Senate for reimbursement.

Leaders of the State Senate’s review of the 2020 election have said that they expect a final report of their work to be delivered to Senate leaders some time in the middle of August.

ABC15 received the following statement from a Maricopa County spokesperson on the purchasing of new election equipment:

"The bottom line is the machines aren’t usable, they are not in the County’s possession, and the County is obligated to run an election in November for about 1.2 million voters. Elections equipment is considered critical infrastructure by the Department of Homeland Security, which recently stated the subpoenaed machines should never be used again. The Board of Supervisors will consider this contract amendment at Wednesday’s meeting. If members approve, the machines will be purchased and decommissioned as the County leases replacement certified tabulation equipment. The Board has always been committed to running free and fair elections as it did in the 2020 election cycle."