Pennsylvania decertifies county’s voting system after ‘audit’

Workers with the Philadelphia City Commissioners office sort election materials

Workers with the Philadelphia City Commissioners office sort election materials for the 2020 General Election in the United States at city’s mail-in ballot sorting and counting center, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photos/Matt Slocum)

Pennsylvania’s top election official has decertified the voting machines of a small southern county that disclosed that it had agreed to requests by local Republican lawmakers and allowed a software firm to inspect the machines as part of an “audit” after the 2020 presidential election.

The action by Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid almost certainly means that Fulton County will have to buy new voting machines or, as it did in the May primary election, lease new ones.

Degraffenreid notified Fulton County officials in a letter Wednesday that the inspection by a firm with “no knowledge or expertise in election technology” violated state law.

“I have no other choice but to decertify the use of Fulton County’s leased Dominion Democracy Suite 5.5A voting system last used in the November 2020 election,” Degraffenreid wrote.

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In May, Fulton County wrote to Degraffenreid to say that, under the supervision of the county’s information technology director, employees of the West Chester-based software company Wake TSI took backups of key data on computers used in ballot-counting and complete images of the computers and thumb drives.

Fewer than 8,000 people in Fulton County voted in the election, backing Trump by almost seven-to-one over Democrat Joe Biden. Biden went on to win Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes.

Fulton County officials did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

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