© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sign urging people to vote appears on the balcony of the Fulton County Democratic Party headquarters on Election Day in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania, November 3, 2020. REUTERS/Nathan Lane/File Photo
Written by Nathan Lane
(Reuters) – Pennsylvania’s chief election official announced the voting equipment of a rural county that participated in auditing the 2020 election at the request of the state’s Republican congressman and staunch ally of former President Donald Trump.
Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degravenried said on Wednesday that Fulton County violated state election law by granting a third party access to election databases and other equipment approved in a review of the 2020 results.
The audit was conducted in December at the request of Republican Senators Doug Mastriano and Judy Ward, who asked county officials to allow Wake Technology Services Inc to investigate the boycott’s findings, according to media reports.
Degravenried’s announcement was the latest blow in a battle between Mastriano, a promoter of Trump’s false allegations of election theft and who is now making an effort to conduct a broader “forensic investigation” into Trump’s loss of the state, and the administration of Democratic Governor Tom Wolff. .
“These measures were taken in a way that was not transparent,” Degravenried said. “As a result of the access granted to Wake TSI, the Fulton County Certified System has been compromised.”
Officials from Fulton County and Wake TSI, based outside of Philadelphia, did not respond to requests for comment. The company was at one point also involved in a controversial audit of voting in Arizona.
Neither Mastriano nor received responded to an email seeking comment on Wednesday.
Degravenried said that Dominion Voting Systems, which rents scheduling machines to the county, also cannot verify that its equipment is safe to use.
Fulton County has received notice from Dominion that it has breached its contract and needs to pay $25,000 to rent new equipment in the May 2021 primary, the Fulton County News reported last month.
There was no indication that the Fulton County audit revealed any wrongdoing.
electoral battlefield ساحة
Trump secured Fulton, a county in south-central Pennsylvania with a population of about 15,000, with nearly 86% of the vote. But he lost Pennsylvania to Democratic President Joe Biden.
Republicans there and in other battlefield states continued audits in the November elections, repeating Trump’s baseless claims that widespread fraud cost him a second term in the White House.
Pennsylvania has already conducted a so-called risk reduction review for the 2020 election, and all counties have also reviewed a sample of their votes as required by law. None of the effort resulted in widespread fraud.
However, Mastriano argued that a more thorough investigation, including an inspection of the equipment, was needed. Earlier this month, he launched a “forensic investigation,” ranging from requests to Tioga, Philadelphia and York counties for access to their voting machines.
The three Republican commissioners in Tioga said they could not comply, citing the potential cost of replacing its devices. While Philadelphia has not commented on the matter, the Democratic stronghold is also expected to reject Mastriano’s request.
York County Commissioner Julie Wheeler said at a meeting on Wednesday that a letter had been sent to Mastriano seeking clarification on several issues, including which audit firm it would use and who would pay for it.
Wheeler warned that replacing all voting equipment in York would cost more than $2.7 million, and said that “if there is support for statewide forensic analysis, it appears that all counties should be included” rather than just the current three.