There have been some rather sudden and noteworthy changes regarding the Georgia secretary of state’s office and the lawsuit over the reliability and integrity of the state’s voting system. The casual version is that Secretary of State Brian Kemp has changed lawyers, edited his Facebook page, and revised his account of how and why data on a server at the heart of the suit quickly and quietly vanished. Headline detail: The reason the secretary of state has new legal counsel is that the Georgia attorney general’s office announced Wednesday it will no longer represent Kemp and other election officials in the suit. As reported by the Associated Press, Cristina Correia, the assistant AG handling the case, notified the court, the secretary of state’s office and other attorneys Wednesday by email that the attorney general’s office is withdrawing. A spokesperson for the department would not comment, and Correia’s email did not say whether the private firm that will represent Kemp and the other defendants will be paid at state expense, AP reported.
… Kemp initially blasted the “undeniable ineptitude at KSU’s Center for Elections Systems” for the data purge — an explanation which, according to WABE, Atlanta’s National Public Radio affiliate, was echoed on Kemp’s Facebook page and later apparently deleted. A Tuesday statement from the secretary of state’s office said the data erasure of the server was “consistent with standard IT practices [and] not undertaken to delete evidence.”
That evidence is, or might have been, a critical factor in the lawsuit one way or the other. It could reveal whether the long-unattended data breach left Georgia’s whole voting system vulnerable to hacker interference.
That’s a key question, because the original basis for the lawsuit — months before things got this complicated and timing-coincidental and accident-prone — was that Georgia’s anachronistic touch-screen voting technology does not provide hard-copy verification of votes.