Georgia to replace voting machines in Coffee County after alleged security breach & More Latest News

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger introduced Friday that he intends to replace some election tools in a south Georgia county the place forensics specialists working final 12 months for pro-Trump legal professional Sidney Powell copied just about each element of the voting system.

Raffensperger (R) mentioned his workplace will replace machines in Coffee County “to allay the fears being stoked by perennial election deniers and conspiracy theorists.” He added that anybody who broke the regulation in reference to unauthorized entry to Coffee County’s machines ought to be punished, “but the current election officials in Coffee County have to move forward with the 2022 election, and they should be able to do so without this distraction.”

Some election-security specialists have voiced issues that the copying of the Coffee County software program — used statewide in Georgia — dangers exposing all the state to hackers, who might use the copied software program as a highway map to discover and exploit vulnerabilities. Raffensperger’s workplace has mentioned that security protocols would make it just about unimaginable for votes to be manipulated with out detection.

The transfer comes after Raffensperger’s workplace spent months voicing skepticism that such a security breach ever occurred in Coffee County. “There’s no evidence of any of that. It didn’t happen,” Gabe Sterling, Raffensperger’s chief operations officer, mentioned at a public occasion in April.

Since then, the truth that outsiders accessed county voting machines — and copied delicate software program and information — has been confirmed by sworn depositions, video surveillance footage from inside and outdoors of the county elections workplace and different paperwork turned over to plaintiffs in long-running civil litigation over election security in Georgia. The plaintiffs argue that the state ought to replace touch-screen voting machines with hand-marked paper ballots. Raffensperger and different Georgia officers are defendants in that case. They deny that the voting system is insecure.

The announcement mentioned that Coffee County would obtain new “ballot-marking devices,” the touch-screen voting machines that voters use to make their picks; printers for paper ballots with voters’ picks; poll scanners used in precincts; digital ballot pads used to test in voters at polling locations; and flash playing cards and thumb drives.

Two items of apparatus that have been accessed by the forensic specialists in Coffee County — a central poll scanner and the election administration system server used to tally outcomes — had already been changed by Raffensperger’s workplace in June 2021.

Marilyn Marks, government director of the Coalition for Good Governance, a plaintiff in the civil litigation, mentioned leaving these two items of apparatus in place is “wildly ineffective.” They have been used throughout elections with the “presumably contaminated” units that at the moment are being changed, and now may very well be contaminated themselves, she mentioned.

Before the announcement, Susan Greenhalgh, a senior adviser for election security for the nonprofit Free Speech for People and a consulting skilled for the Coalition for Good Governance, mentioned that changing the machines in Coffee County is important however not enough to stem the chance to election security in Georgia.

“You still have the overall problem that the software has been released into the wild to countless individuals who may have ill intent and who may be using it to figure out ways to manipulate an election,” Greenhalgh advised reporters at a information briefing earlier this week.

Video footage reveals {that a} staff from Atlanta-based SullivanStrickler spent about eight hours on the county elections workplace on Jan. 7, 2021, copying software program from Dominion Voting Systems tools and information from a number of reminiscence sticks and different units.

The county elections supervisor on the time advised The Washington Post earlier this 12 months that she allowed the staff into the workplace to assist discover proof that the election “was not done true and correct.” The video footage additionally reveals that Cathy Latham, then the chairwoman of the county Republican Party, greeted the SullivanStrickler staff on the elections workplace and launched them to native officers. Her legal professionals have denied that she participated in the Jan. 7 copying or did something improper or unlawful.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has mentioned it’s investigating a suspected laptop trespass of a Coffee County elections server that day. A particular grand jury in Atlanta, which was already analyzing the “fake elector” scheme to hold President Donald Trump in energy utilizing bogus electoral certificates, has lately expanded its inquiry to take in the Coffee County episode.

The grand jury has issued subpoenas together with to Powell and to SullivanStrickler. The agency mentioned in an announcement to The Post that it was not a goal of the investigation and that the corporate and its staff have been witnesses in the case.

SullivanStrickler has mentioned it believed the attorneys it was working for have been approved to entry the voting machines, and that the agency had no cause to assume the attorneys would ask it to do something unlawful or improper. “We are confident that it will quickly become apparent that we did nothing wrong and were operating in good faith at all times,” it mentioned in an announcement.


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