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 September 13, 2023

Pennsylvania voting equipment dispute won't be heard by Supreme Court after 2020 election

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court denied an urgent request from Republicans in a Pennsylvania county to put a hold on punishment until the issue over voting equipment and the 2020 election is resolved.

The case involves efforts by Stuart Ulsh and Randy Bunch, two of the three Fulton County, Pennsylvania, Commissioners, to have a third party evaluate Dominion voting technology following the 2020 election. They said it was so they could consider whether or not to keep using the voting machines, as CNN reported.

According to documents filed in the special master investigation, after the 2020 election, a number of unapproved outside firms were granted access to voting systems in Fulton County without permission from the Board of Elections.

According to court documents, a third county commissioner was unaware that an outside firm had been given access to inspect the voting machines until after the fact.

Wake TSI, a cyber forensics business, was engaged in December 2020 by Defending the Republic, a nonprofit founded by former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, according to an invoice. Wake TSI analyzed and duplicated components of Fulton County's Dominion voting system.

According to court documents, none of the third parties that were given access to the voting equipment in Fulton County were hired by the county or were authorized to carry out such an inspection.

When the secretary of the commonwealth found out about the inspection in July 2021, she claimed that it had jeopardized the safety of the equipment by breaking the chain of custody and removing access restrictions meant to prevent tampering.

The county boards of elections have been ordered by the state secretary not to grant access to any outside parties that wish to audit voting machines that have been certified by the state.

The instruction stipulated that counties whose machines were decertified under the directive would lose all state funds and that Pennsylvania would not cover the cost of replacing any decertified voting equipment. Legal action was taken by the commissioners and their counsel.

The state secretary learned during the proceedings that Fulton County planned to grant permission to a third party, Envoy Sage LLC, to check the machinery.

The secretary petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for a protection order, which was granted. The restraining order was issued by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in January 2022.

A new attorney, Stefanie Lambert, was appointed to represent the commissioners in election-related matters by a 2-1 vote in April 2022. Ulsh and Bush were the two commissioners who voted to have Lambert installed.

A similar action has been filed against Lambert, a pro-Trump lawyer with ties to Powell, alleging that she helped orchestrate and pay breaches of voting system security in various states, including Pennsylvania. In addition to the federal allegations, Lambert is facing criminal charges in Michigan for her alleged role in a plan to steal voting equipment in that state. She has maintained her innocence and her plea of not guilty.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court levied fines after state officials brought the matter to its notice. It also reported the county leaders' attorney, Thomas Carroll, to Pennsylvania's attorney disciplinary board and ordered him to pay the expenses. The court also mandated that the Dominion voting equipment be sent to an impartial third party.

Before deciding whether or not to hear the commissioners' appeal, the Supreme Court of the United States was requested to put a hold on the sanctions. The request was denied by the court. The court's ruling included no dissenting opinions.

Written By:
Charlotte Tyler

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