Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said Thursday that his office is launching an investigation after data was quietly destroyed on a computer server shortly after a lawsuit was filed seeking to force the state to overhaul its election technology. The data wipe, first reported by The Associated Press, was revealed in an email sent by a state prosecutor to lawyers representing election transparency advocates who filed the lawsuit in July questioning the security and accuracy of Georgia’s election infrastructure. The documents show the destruction of the data occurred July 7 at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University, which runs the state’s election system. The director of the center referred questions Thursday to Kennesaw State’s press office. The KSU center’s system will be used in the upcoming elections. KSU represenattives late Thursday issued a statement explaining that the server, which had been examined by the FBI, was wiped so it could be repurposed. School spokeswoman Tammy DeMel said in the statement the FBI made a copy of all of the data on the server before informing KSU it had not been compromised and returning the technology. DeMel said the university determined the technology on the server had exceeded its life and erased the data to repurpose the device.
… Many Democrats said they were outraged by the report. U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson said the “apparent deliberate destruction of evidence” raised questions about the validity of the results in the 6th Congressional District contest in April, a high-profile election for an open U.S. House seat that wound up being the costliest in the nation’s history.
“What used to take place in courthouse basements and backrooms on election night can now be accomplished with a few keystrokes on a laptop computer,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, my suspicions can never be proven wrong because Georgia election officials deleted and destroyed the evidence.”
Kemp, who is running for governor, said his office stands by the results of previous elections. “Despite the undeniable ineptitude at KSU’s Center for Elections Systems,” he added, “Georgia’s elections are safe and our systems remain secure.”