A group of 20 computer scientists and security experts called on Georgia to overhaul its elections system and begin using a system with a paper audit trail, saying it would assure accuracy and public confidence following an alleged breach of confidential data that could affect millions of Georgia voter records. In a letter sent Tuesday to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the group acknowledged that the breach is now under federal investigation and that much is still unknown. But, it said, potential findings “could have dire security consequences for the integrity of the technology and all elections carried out in Georgia” depending on their severity. “While we understand that this investigation is ongoing and that it will take time for the full picture to emerge, we request that you be as forthcoming and transparent as possible regarding critical information about the breach and the investigation, as such leadership not only will be respected in Georgia but also emulated in other states where such a breach could occur,” the group said. Most members of the group are involved with the voting-accuracy organization Verified Voting.
… At least one signer of the letter, Barbara Simons, suggested Tuesday in an interview that the state should consider replacing the machines at least on a temporary basis with paper ballots since officials don’t know whether any of the center’s systems being used to plan the special election may have been compromised. Ultimately, however, she said the machines should be replaced permanently.
Simons, who is retired from IBM Research and was formerly president of the Association for Computing Machinery, is an electronic voting expert who has questioned the use of machines such as DREs as outdated and unsecured. She said the group was acting independently of political organizations and viewed the issue as a nonpartisan one. It reached out to Kemp, she said, to offer help moving forward.
The group suggested that Georgia conduct manual audits of election results. And it encouraged Kemp to reach out to voters eligible to cast ballots in the special election to tell them how they can confirm their information on state voter rolls.