Computer experts urge Georgia to replace voting machines

ATLANTA (AP) — A team of computer system and election protection gurus is urging Ga election officers to switch the state’s touchscreen voting devices with hand-marked paper ballots forward of the November midterm elections, citing what they say are “serious threats” posed by an clear breach of voting tools in one county.

The 13 authorities on Thursday sent a letter to the associates of the Condition Election Board and to Secretary of Point out Brad Raffensperger, who’s a non-voting member of the board. It urges them to instantly prevent employing the state’s Dominion Voting Programs touchscreen voting machines. It also suggests they mandate a specific form of put up-election audit on the result of all races on the ballot.

The authorities who sent the letter contain teachers and former condition election officials and are not linked with efforts by previous President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election.

The midterm elections are just two months absent. A change to hand-marked paper ballots could simply be created by then simply because state legislation currently supplies for them to be utilised as an emergency backup, the letter states.

Point out Election Board Chair William Duffey responded in an email to The Affiliated Push that the “security of our election machines is of paramount desire to the Condition Election Board as is the integrity of the election course of action in Georgia.” He famous that the alleged breach in Espresso County is remaining investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and secretary of state’s office environment investigators and stated the FBI has been questioned to support.

“The investigation is active and ongoing,” Duffey wrote. “Information produced will be regarded to assess the affect of the Coffee County perform.”

Raffensperger’s business has consistently explained that Georgia’s elections stay protected due to the fact of varied security mechanisms in put. Spokesperson Mike Hassinger claimed in an e-mail that the office will reply “in owing time with because of care” and that the reaction will be “addressed specifically to the authors, fairly than leaked to the media to get some type of rhetorical gain.”

The evident unauthorized copying of election devices in Espresso County transpired in January 2021. It is documented in e-mails, stability digicam footage and other information generated in reaction to subpoenas in a prolonged-operating lawsuit that argues Georgia’s voting equipment are susceptible and should really be changed by hand-marked paper ballots.

All those information exhibit that a computer forensics staff traveled to the rural county about 200 miles southeast of Atlanta on Jan. 7, 2021, to forensically duplicate voting products. E-mails display that Sidney Powell and other Trump-allied attorneys ended up involved in arranging for the visit.

The security video also reveals that Doug Logan and Jeff Lenberg, who were being concerned in broader endeavours to forged question on the 2020 election success, visited the place of work later that month.

The authorities who sent the letter Thursday have very long criticized Georgia’s voting machines, which print a paper ballot that consists of a human-readable summary of the voter’s options and a barcode that is read by a scanner to tally the votes. They argue the equipment currently made elections much more susceptible to tampering for the reason that voters can’t browse the barcode to validate that it accurately reflects their options.

But the copying and sharing of election information and computer software from Coffee County “increases each the threat of undetected cyber-assaults on Georgia, and the threat of accusations of fraud and election manipulation,” the letter suggests.

The pro letter also cites work by College of Michigan pc science professor J. Alex Halderman, who serves as an professional witness in the long-functioning voting machines lawsuit. He has identified what he claims are stability vulnerabilities in Georgia’s voting devices. The Office of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency in June issued an advisory based mostly on Halderman’s conclusions.

In addition to urging a switch to hand-marked paper ballots, the professionals say a statewide submit-election, danger-restricting audit need to be performed on all of the races on the ballot. A chance-limiting audit effectively works by using a statistical method to make certain that the noted benefits match the genuine votes cast. Recent policies need only one particular statewide contest to be audited.

At the very least some of the professionals who signed the letter despatched to the Georgia State Election Board past 12 months despatched a identical letter to California’s secretary of condition ahead of a remember election for the state’s governor urging a arduous audit of that contest. The secretary of state did not act on the suggestions.

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Connected Push writer Christina A. Cassidy contributed reporting.