A hacker bought a voting machine on eBay. Michigan officials are now investigating

A hacker bought a voting machine on eBay. Michigan officials are now investigating

Harri Hursti has bought about 200 used voting machines without incident, but the one he purchased on eBay last month is now the subject of a state investigation, with Michigan officials determined to find out how the device ended up for sale online.

“We are actively working with law enforcement to investigate allegations of an illegal attempt to sell a voter assist terminal acquired in Michigan,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who is up for reelection in November, announced in a statement last week.

And, in an additional tweet, Benson noted that the voting machine was originally from Wexford County and clarified that it was not used to tabulate ballots. (The Dominion-made apparatuses are built to function as voting machines or ballot printing devices. In Michigan, they were used to print voter ballots.)

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission says voting machines should be meticulously inventoried and kept under lock and key “in a tamper-proof location, preferably within the election office.”

Hursti is a cybersecurity expert who is often contracted by state-level election officials to test vulnerabilities in voting machines. That’s why he bought the Dominion ImageCast X machine as soon as he saw it online, he told NPR during a phone interview.

“I’ve never taken a look inside one of those,” he said, with some excitement.

He forked over $1,200 then, in an effort to clarify any lingering questions about the ImageCast X’s provenance, he sent an email to Michigan’s secretary of state office alerting them of the deal. It’s something he does whenever he buys a device online, he explained.

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