A server that held data central to Georgia’s elections was wiped this summer, destroying the potential for a forensic investigation to determine whether or not the server was compromised by hackers, the AP reports. The data destruction was revealed in an email last week from an associate state attorney general to a group that is suing Georgia in an attempt to force additional security measures into the election system. The lawsuit was filed on July 3rd and data was reportedly destroyed on July 7th. In August, backups of the wiped server were also destroyed. “The lawsuit was filed, and right after the lawsuit was filed, they wiped their server. After it was moved to federal court, they did it again,” Marian Schneider, the president of Verified Voting, an organization that advocates for election security and has worked with the group of Georgia advocates involved in the lawsuit, told Gizmodo.
Although the deleted data wasn’t under any preservation order from the court, Schneider, a former election official in Pennsylvania, said that the server still should not have been wiped. “As a former state government employee, you can’t do that,” she explained. “You have to preserve governmental records if you are an arm of the state government.”
One of the goals of the lawsuit is to get Georgia to scrap its touchscreen voting machines, which don’t create a paper record of votes that can be audited. Other states, including Virginia, have moved to decertify vulnerable touchscreen voting machines.