By Nathan Lane
(Reuters)-Pennsylvania’s top election official canceled certification of voting equipment in a rural county that participated in the 2020 election audit requested by Republican state legislators and a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump.
Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid (Veronica Degraffenreid) said on Wednesday that Fulton County’s audit of the 2020 results allowed third parties to access its election database and other certified devices, which violated the state. Electoral law.
According to media reports, the audit was conducted in December at the request of Republican state senators Doug Mastriano and Judy Ward, who asked county officials for permission Wake Technology Services Inc investigates the results of the county.
Degraffenreid’s statement is the latest battle between Mastriano and the government of Democratic Governor Tom Wolf.
“These actions were taken in an opaque manner,” DeGraffenred said. “As a result of granting access to Wake TSI, the certification system in Fulton County has been compromised.”
Fulton County officials and Wake TSI outside Philadelphia did not respond to requests for comment. The company also participated in a controversial audit of the Arizona vote.
Neither Mastriano nor Ward responded to emails seeking comment on Wednesday.
Degraffenreid said that Dominion Voting Systems, which rents out tabulating machines to the county, was also unable to verify that its equipment is safe to use.
According to Fulton County News last month, Fulton County received notice from Dominion that it had violated the contract and needed to pay $25,000 to lease new equipment for the May 2021 elementary school.
There is no indication that the Fulton County audit found any violations.
Trump owns Fulton County, which has approximately 15,000 residents in south-central Pennsylvania, and has nearly 86% of the vote. But he lost Pennsylvania to Democratic President Joe Biden.
Republicans there and in other battlefield states have been auditing the November election, repeating Trump’s baseless claim that widespread fraud cost him his second White House term.
Pennsylvania has conducted so-called risk limit audits for the 2020 elections, and all counties have also conducted sampling audits of their votes in accordance with the law. Neither of these two efforts found widespread fraud.
Nevertheless, Mastroiano believes that a more comprehensive equipment inspection investigation is needed. Earlier this month, he launched his “forensic investigation”, first by asking Tioga, Philadelphia and York Counties to use their voting machines.
The three Republican members of Tioga said they were unable to comply on the grounds that the replacement of the machine might incur costs. Although Philadelphia has not yet commented on this matter, it is expected that the Democratic stronghold will also reject Mastriano’s request.
At a meeting on Wednesday, the Yorkshire Commissioner Julie Wheeler stated that a letter had been sent to Mastriano asking for clarification on various issues, including what audit company will be used and who will pay the fees.
Wheeler warned that it would cost more than $2.7 million to replace all voting equipment in York, and stated that “if forensic analysis is supported at the state level, it seems that all counties should be included”, not just the current three counties.