3 IT experts hired to inspect Maricopa County's election network

Published: Friday, January 28, 2022 - 3:49pm
Updated: Saturday, January 29, 2022 - 10:02am

The still-ongoing partisan review of Maricopa County’s 2020 election took a step toward its end on Friday, when three IT experts were hired to examine county routers and Splunk logs.

Former U.S. Congressman John Shadegg, the special master appointed as part of a settlement agreement between the county and Arizona Senate Republicans, announced he’s hired Jane Ginn, a cybersecurity threat analyst with the Cyber Threat Intelligence Network; Brad Rhodes, a consultant and adjunct professor from Gannon University; and Andrew Keck, owner of Profile Imaging of Columbus.

Those experts will be responsible for responding to a series of questions from Senate Republicans that county officials say have already been thoroughly answered — primarily, was any equipment responsible for counting ballots in the 2020 election connected to the internet.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors hired its own third-party experts in 2021 who confirmed the county’s election system is air-gapped, meaning there’s no way ballot-tabulating machines and servers housing election return data could be accessible via the web.

But Senate Republicans, led by Senate President Karen Fann, have continued to raise questions about the county’s election infrastructure, citing debunked reports of “anomalies” raised by private firms with past ties to former President Donald Trump — including Cyber Ninjas, who county officials and the broader elections community have criticized as inexperienced and unqualified.

“We are hoping to conclude this part of the audit expeditiously and without any further delays,” Fann said in a statement.

County Supervisor Bill Gates, a Republican, said the agreement with the Senate to hire Shadegg and other experts ensures that Maricopa County’s network will remain in county custody and guard against the release of sensitive law enforcement or court-related information.