BY Randy DeSoto, The Western JournalFebruary 14, 2023
1 year ago
BY 
 | February 14, 2023
1 year ago

Arizona Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to End Use of Voting Machines with Foreign Components

A proposed amendment to Arizona's election laws approved by the state Senate Committee on Elections on Monday would require that voting machines be made entirely of components sourced in the United States.

Maricopa County, where 60 percent of Arizona's voters live, uses Dominion Voting Systems, while nearly all the other counties in the state use Election Systems & Software.

Both Dominion and ES&S voting equipment includes components from Dell, which sources many of its microchips from China and Taiwan.

The Western Journal reached out to Dominion, ES&S and Dell to determine whether components in the voting machines were made in China. Dominion and Dell did not immediately respond.

In an email Wednesday, ES&S spokeswoman Katina Granger said, "All ES&S tabulation software is developed and compiled exclusively in the USA. All final hardware configuration of ES&S voting machines is performed exclusively in the USA. Some components used in our voting machines are made in countries outside the USA."

As the company's website notes, China is one of those countries.

The proposed change in election law backed by Arizona Senate Majority Leader Sonny Borrelli and sponsored by Sen. Anthony Kern -- both Republicans -- relies on the constitutional legislature's authority to oversee elections.

Therefore, the lawmakers argue, it does not need Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs' signature to become Arizona's voting policy.

The resolution states right up front that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2017 designated election infrastructure as "critical infrastructure."

In light of this, Republican senators said that Arizona should follow the Department of Defense policy of requiring the supply chain for the machines to be sourced in the U.S.

"To me this is a national security issue because if we can have foreign actors being involved in the manufacturing or even manipulating the system," the state's elections are not trustworthy, Borrelli said during Monday's hearing.

"The voting machine systems in Arizona contain components that are manufactured and assembled or tested in foreign nations such as China which pose a direct threat to the United States," he added.

Borrelli pointed to a 2018 Bloomberg article headlined "The Big Hack -- How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies" to show how advanced Beijing is at placing malicious microchips as small as a pencil head in hardware its companies manufacture.

That article went into how Amazon Web Services, when doing a contract for the CIA, reportedly discovered the servers it was to provide to the agency through an Oregon-based subcontractor were compromised with Chinese microchips.

Apple also reportedly had a similar problem with malicious microchips in hardware made in China. Both Amazon and Apple denied they had been compromised, but Bloomberg reported that numerous former and current government officials -- from both the Obama and Trump administrations -- offered specifics about the investigations.

Borrelli noted there have been problems in electronic tabulators in recent elections and vulnerabilities identified by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency that have not been adequately addressed.

He cited the example of municipal elections in Williamson County, Tennessee, in November 2021, when an "anomaly" occurred in the Dominion tabulators causing the scanners to mislabel valid ballots as provisional, so they were not counted.

The county ultimately decided to cancel its Dominion contract over the vote-counting problem, according to The Tennessean.

Hand counts in 2020 and again during this past midterm election cycle have shown errors in the machine vote tallies. Election officials have attributed them to user or programming mistakes.

[firefly_poll]

One example was Antrim County, Michigan, which flipped from Joe Biden to Donald Trump being the winner in the 2020 presidential contest.

A hand count conducted in the entire state of Georgia following the 2020 general election revealed that thousands of ballots had not been tallied.

Trump ended up netting more than 1,200 votes over Biden, but it was not enough to change the overall result in the Peach State.

This past summer, a Democratic DeKalb County commission candidate initially came in third place in her primary contest, but a hand count showed she won the race, and she went on to be elected a county commissioner in November.

The Georgia secretary of state’s office admitted to making several programming mistakes in its Dominion machines in the primary contest.

At Monday's hearing, Borrelli pointed out the resistance Cochise County met when it announced its plans to do a full hand count after the midterm elections to ensure its ES&S voting machines' accuracy.

Then-Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Democratic lawyer Marc Elias' law firm both sued the county to block the count.

"So through lawfare, the county was prevented from doing their prescribed duties to make sure that their election was certifiable. ... Therefore the county had to certify their election under duress because they were threatened with a felony," Borrelli said.

Jennifer Marson, executive director of the Arizona Association of Counties, testified at the hearing against changing the law to require all election machines to include only U.S. components.

"All of our tabulation equipment is assembled in the United States already," she said, "but to have it all be manufactured here, there currently does not exist a supply chain that can accomplish that.

"Whether you’re talking about electronics or plastic or whatever other thing might be part of any of that equipment, that is not all available to get here in the United States, so we’re concerned if this bill were to be signed as is, there is no way we would be able to comply."

Borrelli's resolution specifically mentions "electronic components" being made in the U.S., so plastics would not apparently be covered by the prohibition.

The Senate Election Committee voted in favor of Borrelli's proposal and the accompanying Senate Bill 1074.

UPDATE, Feb. 15, 2023: This article was revised to include a response received Wednesday from ES&S spokeswoman Katina Granger.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Randy DeSoto, The Western Journal

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