Georgia’s outdated voting machines are in the spotlight as election integrity advocates try to convince the state’s highest court that a judge shouldn’t have dismissed a lawsuit challenging the outcome of November’s race for lieutenant governor. The lawsuit says tens of thousands of votes were never recorded in the race and the contest was “so defective and marred by material irregularities” as to place the result in doubt. It contends an unexplained undervote in the race was likely caused by problems with the state’s paperless touchscreen voting machines. Republican Geoff Duncan beat Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico by 123,172 votes to become lieutenant governor.Full Article: Georgia high court to hear appeal in election challenge | The Atlanta Voice.
The Supreme Court of Georgia will hear oral arguments Tuesday on a challenge to last year’s election of the state’s lieutenant governor. The high court took the appeal after Senior Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs tossed out a suit contesting the election of Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan last January. A slate of plaintiffs including the Coalition for Good Governance, a nonprofit organization focused on election integrity; Smythe Duval, the Libertarian Party’s 2018 candidate for secretary of state; and voters from Fulton and Morgan counties challenged the lieutenant governor’s election, claiming that electronic voting anomalies not reflected in the paper ballot count showed a significant and unexplainable undervote. Duncan, the Republican candidate, won the race by 123,172 votes out of 3.78 million ballots cast. But plaintiffs attorney Bruce Brown contended that as many as 127,000 votes may have been affected. Duncan’s Democratic challenger, Sarah Riggs Amico, is not a plaintiff, although the lawsuit mirrors a complaint she made last November to Georgia’s secretary of state citing “significant anomalies” with “an unusually high rate” of residual undervotes that were either invalid, not recorded or never cast on electronic ballots in the lieutenant governor’s race.Full Article: Georgia Supreme Court to Hear Appeal in Challenge to Lt. Governor's Election | Daily Report.
Georgia: Voting irregularities raise more troubling questions about the state’s elections | Politico
Lawsuits, complaints about lax security and accusations of voter suppression marred Georgia’s election for governor in November. But the state’s race for lieutenant governor had its own trouble, Democrats and election security advocates say. The contest between Republican Geoff Duncan and Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico drew far less national attention than the marquee governor’s race in which GOP candidate Brian Kemp narrowly defeated Stacey Abrams. But plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the state say abnormalities in the lieutenant governor’s election raise questions about Duncan’s victory — and potentially about the outcome of other races on the ballot if the state’s electronic voting machines were to blame. In addition to the lawsuit, Amico asked the state to investigate irregularities in the election. The problem: Georgians cast nearly 4 million ballots on Election Day, but about 160,000 of them showed no vote cast in the lieutenant governor race, about 4.3 percent of ballots. To election experts, this so-called “undervote” rate — when a race is left blank — is evidence either that Georgia voters were unusually apathetic about their lieutenant governor, or that something went wrong.Full Article: Georgia voting irregularities raise more troubling questions about the state’s elections - POLITICO.
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....
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.
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.
Editorials: Voting Machines: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? | Jennifer Cohn/NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
Since the 2016 election, there has been a good deal of commentary and reporting about the threats to American democracy from, on the one hand, Russian interference by Facebook and Twitterbot-distributed propaganda, and on the other, voter ID laws and other partisan voter suppression measures such as electoral roll purges. Both of these concerns are real and urgent, but there is a third, yet more sinister threat to the integrity of the November 6 elections: the vulnerability of the voting machines themselves. This potential weakness is critical because the entire system of our democracy depends on public trust—the belief that, however divided the country is and fiercely contested elections are, the result has integrity. Nothing is more insidious and corrosive than the idea that the tally of votes itself could be unreliable and exposed to fraud.Full Article: Voting Machines: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? | by Jennifer Cohn | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books.
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 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’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 www.mvp.sos.ga.gov, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 | cbs46.com.
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.
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 | auburnpub.com.
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.