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Georgia: State Election Officials Defends Use of Hack-Prone Voting Machines at 11th Circuit | Courthouse News

The battle over how Georgia voters cast their ballots continued Wednesday in the 11th Circuit as attorneys for state election officials asked a three-judge panel to reject a lawsuit claiming the integrity of state elections is compromised by electronic voting machines. Last September, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg denied the Coalition for Good Governance’s request for an emergency preliminary injunction which would have forced Georgia voters to switch to paper ballots, ruling that the state could use its direct-recording electronic voting machines in the November midterm election. Totenberg acknowledged that the state’s 27,000 DRE voting machines are susceptible to “malicious intrusion,” but found that there were significant “fiscal, organizational and practical impediments” associated with orchestrating a large-scale change to the state’s voting systems just weeks before early voting was scheduled to begin. In the ruling, Totenberg advised state election officials to be prepared to switch to a more secure system by 2020, acknowledging warnings from cyber security experts who say that Georgia’s DRE machines are particularly vulnerable to hacking because they lack a physical paper-trail backup.

Full Article: Georgia Defends Use of Hack-Prone Voting Machines at 11th Circuit.

Georgia: Recount ordered in repeat election for Georgia House seat after tally shows 2-vote difference | The Atlanta Journal Constitution

A recount was ordered Monday in the repeat election for a Georgia House seat after a tally showed the incumbent losing by two votes. State Rep. Dan Gasaway’s attorney, Jake Evans, said the Homer Republican sought the recount in his race against GOP challenger Chris Erwin after exploring his legal options. “If any election shows that every vote counts, it is this one,” Evans said. “We anxiously await the recount results.” Gasaway’s campaign asked for the recount Monday, and Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden ordered it later in the day.

Full Article: Recount ordered in repeat election for Georgia House seat after tally shows....

Georgia: It’s time to solve the Mystery of the 100,000 Missing Votes | Atlanta Journal Constitution

The 2018 election season has finally ended. It’s over. Finis. Which means that the time is now ripe to take a cold-eyed, dispassionate and non-partisan look at the Mystery of the Missing 100,000 Votes. This is not about Georgia’s race for governor, but about the lieutenant governor’s contest. And the puzzle isn’t hidden, but sits on the secretary of state’s public website, staring at us like one of Edgar Allan Poe’s purloined letters. Let us begin the hunt by saying that Sarah Riggs Amico, the Democrat who lost to Republican Geoff Duncan by 123,172 votes on Nov. 6, is not asking for a do-over. Yes, a lawsuit has been filed challenging the results, but she is not a party to it. Amico is more interested in finding an explanation. “I don’t think this needs to be looked at as a question of outcome. It needs to be looked at as a question of election integrity,” the former candidate said Monday at the Cobb County headquarters of her family’s trucking firm. Given that the state Legislature is about to embark on a fierce and expensive debate over the replacement of thousands of voting machines in all 159 counties, her search could be an important one.

Full Article: It's time to solve the Mystery of the 100,000 Missing Votes.

Editorials: Georgia’s Shaky Voting System | Adam Levin and Beau Friedlander/The New York Times

The governor’s race in Georgia between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp has turned into an ugly, drawn-out affair, and we won’t know the final results for a while. Mr. Kemp, the Republican, declared victory and resigned as Georgia’s secretary of state so he wouldn’t be responsible for overseeing the counting of votes in the race — though before he resigned he did make an unsubstantiated claim that Democrats were hacking the election. There is a silver lining in this mess: The new secretary of state could finally fix Georgia’s astoundingly insecure voting system, one of the most poorly protected in the country. This has been a rough election for Georgians. Accusations of racism and voter suppression have abounded. An outside investigation found that more than 340,000 voter registrations had been improperly canceled by Mr. Kemp’s office. A significant number were reinstated by court order, but there is no way of knowing if voter turnout would have been even higher if the Kemp purge hadn’t happened.

Full Article: Opinion | Georgia’s Shaky Voting System - The New York Times.

National: Complaints Allege Cruz, Kemp Benefitting from Faulty Voting Machines That Change Dem Ballots to GOP | Law & Crime

Early voters submitting ballots for hotly contested races in Texas and Georgia claim that their states’ paperless voting machines are changing their votes for Democratic candidates to Republican, or deleting them altogether. According to Politico, individuals, as well as civil rights groups, have filed complaints alleging that glitches are resulting in votes for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) instead of his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. There have also been complaints that votes have gone to Georgia’s Republican candidate for governor, Brian Kemp, instead of his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams. Voting technology experts have said that this is not the result of foul play, but outdated, faulty systems that don’t even leave a paper trail of what happened. Kemp, who is currently the Georgia Secretary of State, has resisted past calls for the state to change voting systems. His state has used the same system since 2002. Texas only uses electronic machines in some counties, but there have been reports of ballots that were intended to be “straight ticket” votes for one party were changed to the other party.

Full Article: Voters Complain Democrat Ballots Changed to GOP | Law & Crime.

Georgia: Brian Kemp Was Warned of a Cyber Vulnerability. He Weaponized It—Again | Route Fifty

Georgia Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial nominee Brian Kemp’s office seems to have a cybersecurity problem. With less than 48 hours before voters go to the polls in Georgia, Kemp announced his office was investigating the Georgia Democratic Party for an alleged failed hack of the secretary of state’s voting website. The leader of an organization that claims to have disclosed these cyber vulnerabilities to his office says the blaming of his political opponents is both “fabricated and preposterous.” It is part of a pattern of Kemp not securing voting systems, then politicizing and weaponizing his cybersecurity vulnerabilities against those who report them. … The organizations that received the information about the alleged problems are among those suing the secretary of state for the high rate of rejections of absentee mail ballots in Georgia, as well as the Democratic Party. Marks told Route Fifty the organizations had six cybersecurity experts of “national preeminence” in the computer science world review the data. All of them came to the same conclusion that the vulnerability was real and significant. “The experts who did look at it immediately recognized the problem with a quick look and realized delving in further could be problematic from a legal standpoint,” Marks said. “And these aren’t people that come at this from a political standpoint, they’re scientists.”

Full Article: Brian Kemp Was Warned of a Cyber Vulnerability. He Weaponized It—Again - Route Fifty.

Georgia: Election observers looking out for problems in Georgia | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s high-profile election on Tuesday will be closely watched — not just to see who wins, but to ensure that voters’ rights are protected and their ballots are counted. Election observers from several nonprofits are fanning out across the state to assist voters and report problems with long lines, voter registration and the state’s 16-year-old electronic voting machines. Well over 1 million voters are expected to cast ballots at their local precincts on Election Day, building on the 2.1 million voters who already participated in early voting over the past three weeks — a record number for a midterm election year. Voters are motivated to decide the race at the top of the ballot for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. Voters should be prepared by checking their registration information online at, verifying their precinct locations and bringing photo ID to the polls, according to organizations promoting voting rights.

Full Article: Georgia Election 2018: How voters can prepare and report problems.

Tennessee: Concerns Over Voter Registrations Loom in Shelby County | Associated Press

Concerns about voter registrations and the security of electronic voting machines are looming over the upcoming election in Tennessee’s largest county. Two lawsuits have been filed in connection with Tuesday’s pivotal election in Shelby County, the largest by population in Tennessee and the one that includes Memphis. Election officials there have pushed back against allegations of voter suppression and that they are not doing enough to protect the election process. Tennessee features a race for governor and a tight U.S. Senate race between Republican Marsha Blackburn, who served 16 years in the U.S. House, and Democrat Phil Bredesen, a former Tennessee governor. The Senate race is being closely watched nationally as Democrats try to flip the seat in a state with relatively low voter turnout.

Full Article: Concerns Over Voter Registrations Loom in Tennessee County - The New York Times.

Georgia: Senators blast Georgia’s Brian Kemp for ‘a total disregard for election security’ | The Washington Post

With just days to go before the midterms, two Democrats are accusing Republican Brian Kemp of downplaying election security for his own political gain in his run for Georgia governor. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) calls the potential insecurity of Georgia’s paperless voting machines a “disaster.” And Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) told me the fact that Georgia voters will be going to the polls without a paper backup is “outrageous.” “Secretary of State Kemp has shown a total disregard for election security,” Wyden said in an email. “He seems to see a personal benefit to ignoring the urgent warnings from experts and intelligence agencies about the threats to Georgia’s election system.”

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: Democrats blast Georgia's Brian Kemp for 'a total disregard for election security' - The Washington Post.

National: How Electronic-Voting-Machine Errors Reflect a Wider Crisis for American Democracy | The New Yorker

When reports began circulating last week that voting machines in Texas were flipping ballots cast for Beto O’Rourke over to Ted Cruz, and machines in Georgia were changing votes for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to those for her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, it would not have been unreasonable to suppose that those machines had been hacked. After all, their vulnerabilities have been known for nearly two decades. In September, J. Alex Halderman, a computer-science professor at the University of Michigan, demonstrated to members of Congress precisely how easy it is to surreptitiously manipulate the AccuVote TS, a variant of the direct-recording electronic (D.R.E.) voting machines used in Georgia. In addition, Halderman noted, it is impossible to verify that the votes cast were not the votes intended, since the AccuVote does not provide a physical record of the transaction.

Full Article: How Electronic-Voting-Machine Errors Reflect a Wider Crisis for American Democracy | The New Yorker.

Indiana: Early voters complain faulty machines switch votes | Journal & Courier

After waiting a half-hour in line Saturday afternoon on the first of eight days of early voting at the Pay Less Super Market in West Lafayette, Sundeep Rao couldn’t figure out why every time he touched the screen for a candidate labeled “D” for Democrat, an X went into the box next to one with an “R” for Republican. Rao, an information technology director from West Lafayette, was familiar enough with older touch screen technology to back out of the incorrect choice, only to find that it took two or three tries to uncheck one box and position his finger in such a way to make his choice the right way. He said he hadn’t experienced that problem in previous elections, but once he figured out the pattern, he made his way through the ballot. A few voting booths over, he heard Robin Pickett, his wife, muttering under her breath about having the same problem.

Full Article: Early voters complain faulty machines switch votes at WL Pay Less site.

Tennessee: Federal court dismisses challenge aimed at voting machines | The Daily Memphian

An effort to have the federal Department of Homeland Security conduct a cyber-security threat assessment of Shelby County’s touchscreen voting machines and a have a special master review the county’s voting system has been denied in Memphis Federal Court. The temporary restraining order seeking those measures was sought by the group Shelby Advocates for Valid Elections – or SAVE – before the Oct. 17 start of early voting in advance of the Nov. 6 election day. The request was part of a larger lawsuit still pending before U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Parker that seeks to bar the use of the touchscreen voting machines after the November election. “Although the law recognizes the voters’ rights can be impaired any number of ways, to be actionable under due process, the system must be fundamentally unfair,” Parker wrote in the Oct. 24 ruling, adding SAVE has not shown that.

Full Article: Federal court dismisses challenge aimed at voting machines - The Daily Memphian.

Georgia: Old technology creating new problems with voting machines | WGCL

It’s a problem no one wants to have happen. You vote for one candidate but the machine claims you voted for someone else. Pamela Grimes was so excited to vote for her candidate for governor. So why did the voting machine in Bartow County show she had selected the other candidate? She went back to the previous page and had to re-do it three times. My thoughts were, oh my gosh. What just happened?” said Grimes. “Like, I know that I pushed the right box. And I had to press around the box. I did not press directly into that square. It was not removing that “x”.” She told a poll worker and then left.

Full Article: Old technology creating new problems with voting machines | News |

Georgia: Federal Court Ruling Shows Judges Have a Role to Play in Election Security | Lawfare

In the wake of Russia’s interference in U.S. elections, questions persist as to whether Russia changed vote totals and changed the outcome of the election. Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and the Senate intelligence committee each say there is no evidence that the Russians did so. But as technologist Matt Blaze told the New York Times, that’s “less comforting than it might sound at first glance, because we haven’t looked very hard.” And experts agree that our outdated voting technology certainly exposes voters to the risk of interference, as election security experts and election administrators have known for more than a decade. Last month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia recognized that the risk of election hacking is of constitutional significance—and that courts can do something about it. In Curling v. Kemp, two groups of Georgia voters contend that Georgia’s old paperless voting machines are so unreliable that they compromise the plaintiffs’ constitutional right to vote. In ruling on the voters’ motion for preliminary injunction, Judge Amy Totenberg held that the plaintiffs had demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits—in other words, Georgia’s insecure voting system likely violated their constitutional rights. While the court declined to order relief in time for the 2018 elections, the ruling suggests that Georgia may eventually be ordered to move to a more secure voting system. (Protect Democracy, where I work, has filed an amicus brief in Curling. Protect Democracy also represents Lawfare contributors and editors Benjamin Wittes, Jack Goldsmith, Scott Anderson and Susan Hennessey on a number of separate matters.)

Full Article: Federal Court Ruling in Georgia Shows Judges Have a Role to Play in Election Security - Lawfare.

National: After election hacking presentation, Katko pushes bill to boost security | Auburn Citizen

Dr. J. Alex Halderman inserted a memory card infected with malicious software into an electronic voting machine. It wasn’t an actual case of election hacking, but Halderman’s demonstration served a purpose: To show two members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. John Katko, what can happen if hackers gain access to voting machines. Halderman, director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Computer Security and Society, invited Katko, R-Camillus, and U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat, to cast votes using the Diebold AccuVote TS voting machine. Halderman programmed a mock election: A presidential race between George Washington and Benedict Arnold. There were two votes cast for Washington and one for Arnold. But the receipt printed from the voting machine revealed the effect of the malicious software. The paper showed Arnold received two votes and Washington netted one.

Full Article: After election hacking presentation, Katko pushes bill to boost security | Eye on NY |

Georgia: Can Georgia’s electronic voting machines be trusted? | Atlanta Journal Constitution

When Georgia voters cast their ballots this fall, some will wonder whether the state’s outdated touchscreen voting machines are safe and accurate. Election officials say voters have nothing to fear, but election integrity advocates say there’s good reason to worry. Electronic voting machines could be hacked if someone got around security measures. There’s no paper backup. And a state election computer exposed voting information online for months. Even a federal judge said this week that there’s a “mounting tide of evidence” the state’s digital voting system is at risk. Can Georgians trust their votes will be counted in the election for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp? Skeptics say they’ve lost faith in the system and in Kemp’s ability to oversee it while running for higher office. Kemp and election officials are trying to reassure voters that the election system hasn’t been compromised, and that voting is safe and accurate.

Full Article: Hacking fears fuel mistrust of Georgia voting machines.

Georgia: Election Officials to Appeal Paper Ballot Ruling to 11th Circuit | Courthouse News

Georgia election officials  are appealing a federal judge’s decision to allow voters to continue a challenge to the state’s practice of relying solely on electronic voting machines in its elections. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp filed a notice of appeal Tuesday evening after U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ruled the Coalition for Good Governance had validly stated a claim that the machines used in the state’s election are vulnerable to hacking. The group, representing voters across the state, had hoped Totenberg  would issue a preliminary injunction and order the state to use paper ballots during the November midterm election. Totenberg declined to do so due to the lack of time to get the new system in place before November 6.

Full Article: Georgia Officials to Appeal Paper Ballot Ruling to 11th Circuit.

Georgia: Federal Judge Blasts Georgia’s ‘Dated, Vulnerable’ Voting System | Nextgov

Georgia won’t be required to make a last-minute switch to paper ballots for the November midterm elections, but a federal judge still sent a strong message to election officials that she saw significant flaws with the state’s “dated, vulnerable” voting system. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg on Monday denied a motion by a group of voters seeking to force Secretary of State Brian Kemp and county election offices to stop using direct recording electronic voting machines, or DREs, for anyone other than people with disabilities in 2018. DREs use reprogrammable, removable memory cards vulnerable to hackers and don’t produce an independent paper audit trail. In her order, Totenberg noted that during recent testimony she heard from both county and state officials that the logistics of moving to a paper ballot with early voting coming next month would create chaos for voters. But the judge also emphasized that she “advises the Defendants that further delay is not tolerable in their confronting of and tackling the challenges before the State’s election balloting system.”

Full Article: Federal Judge Blasts Georgia’s ‘Dated, Vulnerable’ Voting System - Nextgov.

Georgia: Judge: Georgia has stalled in face of voting system risks | Associated Press

As Georgia’s top elections official runs for governor, a federal judge said the state has stalled too long in the face of “a mounting tide of evidence of the inadequacy and security risks” of its voting system. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, is in the midst of a closely watched race against Democrat Stacey Abrams, a former state House minority leader who’s trying to become the country’s first black, female governor. He has repeatedly insisted that Georgia’s current voting system is secure. Voting integrity advocates sued last year, arguing that the touchscreen voting machines Georgia has used since 2002 are vulnerable to hacking and provide no way to confirm that votes have been recorded correctly because there’s no paper trail. They sought an immediate change to paper ballots for the midterm elections while the case is pending. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg declined to grant that request Monday, saying that although voting integrity advocates have demonstrated “the threat of real harms to their constitutional interests,” she worried about the “massive scrambling” required for a last-minute change to paper ballots. Early voting starts Oct. 15 for the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Full Article: Judge: Georgia has stalled in face of voting system risks | Technology |

Georgia: Judge upholds electronic voting machines | Atlanta Journal Constitution

A federal judge ruled Monday that Georgia can continue using electronic voting machines in November’s election despite concerns they could be hacked. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg denied a request for an injunction that would have forced the state’s 6.8 million voters to switch to hand-marked paper ballots. Totenberg made her decision in an ongoing lawsuit from voters and election integrity organizations who say Georgia’s direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines are untrustworthy and insecure. Georgia is one of five states that relies entirely on electronic voting machines without a verifiable paper backup. Her 46-page order Monday said she was concerned about “voter frustration and disaffection from the voting process” if she had prohibited electronic voting machines just weeks before the election. “There is nothing like bureaucratic confusion and long lines to sour a citizen,” Totenberg wrote. 

Full Article: Georgia Election 2018: Judges upholds electronic voting machines.