The most vulnerable state: Georgia

Electronic election suspicions in Georgia have been there since the dawn of century. Deserving of chapters in Bev Harris’ book Black Box voting <read> which included the suspicious loss of Senator Max Cleland and the election of Governor Sonny Perdue.

Now with Secretary of State Brian Kemp running for Governor, a New Yorker article reviews the recent history of ongoing vulnerability, lack of investigation by the state, and cover-up: Trump, Election Hacking, and the Georgia Governor’s Race <read>

The indictment also revealed—for the first time—that the Russians had targeted county Web sites in Georgia, looking for election-related vulnerabilities. (The indictment said that the hackers also looked at county Web sites in Iowa and Florida.) In one sense, this was an unremarkable fact: the top cybersecurity official in the Department of Homeland Security, Jeanette Manfra, told Congress in April that Russians hackers had likely targeted every state’s systems in 2016. But, for the past two years, Kemp has been contemptuous of efforts by the D.H.S. to shore up election systems nationally. And, though not going so far as to say that Russian interference is “all a big hoax,” as Trump has, [Secretary of the State and Candidate for Governor Brian] Kemp has been an outspoken advocate of not taking the whole thing so seriously…

Labelling elections as critical infrastructure, Kemp declared, opened the door for the federal government to “subvert the Constitution to achieve the goal of federalizing elections under the guise of security.” Georgia is one of only five states that uses voting machines that create no paper record, and thus cannot be audited, and the Center for American Progress has given it a D grade for election security. But, when D.H.S. offered cybersecurity assistance, Kemp refused it…

The suit was filed on July 3rd. Four days later, the servers at the Center for Election Systems were wiped clean. On August 9th, less than twenty-four hours after the case was moved to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, all the data on the Center’s backup servers were destroyed as well. As the Coalition said in a brief, “The State of Georgia and its officials have the legal, moral, and ethical obligation to secure the State’s electoral system. Sadly—and inexplicably—they appear to lack the will to do so.”

Our Editorial

Has our democracy been stolen in Georgia? Will it continue to be stolen? This is not just a problem for Georgia voters. The Senators and Representatives from each state change the balance in Washington, the Electoral College votes from Georgia count toward who is our President, especially in close elections like 2000, 2004 and 2016. The fully justified suspicion alone undermines confidence in Democracy.

Instead of papering over suspicions, Georgia should be moving to paper ballots and sufficient post-election audits.


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