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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on an emergency request from two GOP election officials in Pennsylvania regarding sanctions linked to an argument over voting equipment and the 2020 election.
The nation’s highest court on Tuesday refused to block sanctions that were imposed by state officials after the two Fulton County Commissioners — Stuart Ulsh and Randy Bunch — granted access to Dominion Voting Systems machines following the election to third-party groups for the purpose of examining them without the full authorization of the commission, claiming they did so in order to determine whether to continue using the machines.
CNN reported: “Multiple outside firms were ultimately given unauthorized access to voting systems in Fulton County after the 2020 election without authorization from the Board of Elections, according to court filings in the special master probe. The third county commissioner only learned that an outside firm had been allowed to inspect the election equipment until after it was done, court filings show.”
“One of the cyber forensics firms that examined and copied components of Fulton County’s Dominion voting system – Wake TSI – was hired by Defending the Republic, a non-profit founded by former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, according to an invoice from December 2020. Powell has not responded to CNN’s request for comment. None of the third-party groups granted access to the voting systems in Fulton County were contracted by the county itself or had the proper accreditation to carry out such an inspection, according to court records,” CNN added.
In July 2021, after discovering the inspection, the secretary of the commonwealth ruled that the examination had compromised the equipment’s integrity by eroding the chain of custody protocols and access restrictions that are crucial to preventing tampering.
Afterward, the commission and its attorneys launched the current legal proceedings, CNN noted further.
In the course of the proceedings, the state secretary became aware of Fulton County’s plans to permit Envoy Sage LLC to conduct an inspection of the equipment. In response, the secretary successfully sought and obtained a protective order from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to prevent such an inspection. In January 2022, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court officially issued the protective order, CNN added.
In April 2022, the commissioners decided, with a 2-1 majority vote, to designate a new attorney, Stefanie Lambert, to represent them in matters related to past elections. Commissioners Ulsh and Bush were the two who cast their votes in favor of appointing her.
“Lambert, a pro-Trump lawyer with ties to Powell, is involved in a similar lawsuit alleging she helped coordinate and fund voting system breaches in multiple states – including Pennsylvania. Lambert is also facing criminal charges in Michigan related to her involvement in an alleged conspiracy to seize voting equipment there. She has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing,” CNN noted.
“When Pennsylvania state officials brought the action to the attention of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the court issued sanctions. It ordered the county officials to pay attorney’s fees and referred their attorney Thomas Carroll to Pennsylvania’s attorney disciplinary board. The court also ordered the Dominion voting equipment to be placed in the custody of a neutral agent,” the outlet continued.
The commissioners had made a request to the U.S. Supreme Court to temporarily halt the sanctions while the justices deliberated on whether to accept their appeal. The Court declined the request, and no dissenting opinions were recorded in the Court’s decision, CNN said.
In April, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, officials had to scramble after around 20,000 voters received ballots with errors on them. Some of the voters who had already cast their ballots received emails from the county telling them of the issue, local reports said at the time.