Laptop, safety consultants urge Georgia to interchange voting machines

ATLANTA — A bunch of pc and election safety consultants is urging Georgia election officers to interchange the state’s touchscreen voting machines with hand-marked paper ballots forward of the November midterm elections, citing what they are saying are “severe threats” posed by an obvious breach of voting tools in a single county.

The 13 consultants on Thursday despatched a letter to the members of the State Election Board and to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who’s a non-voting member of the board. It urges them to right away cease utilizing the state’s Dominion Voting Techniques touchscreen voting machines. It additionally suggests they mandate a selected sort of post-election audit on the end result of all races on the poll.

The consultants who despatched the letter embrace lecturers and former state election officers and will not be related to efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election.

The midterm elections are simply two months away. A swap to hand-marked paper ballots might simply be made by then as a result of state regulation already supplies for them for use as an emergency backup, the letter says.

State Election Board Chair William Duffey responded in an e-mail to The Related Press that the “safety of our election tools is of paramount curiosity to the State Election Board as is the integrity of the election course of in Georgia.” He famous that the alleged breach in Espresso County is being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and secretary of state’s workplace investigators and stated the FBI has been requested to help.

“The investigation is lively and ongoing,” Duffey wrote. “Info developed can be thought-about to judge the impression of the Espresso County conduct.”

Raffensperger’s workplace has repeatedly stated that Georgia’s elections stay safe due to diversified safety mechanisms in place. Spokesperson Mike Hassinger stated in an e-mail that the workplace will reply “in due time with due care” and that the response can be “addressed on to the authors, quite than leaked to the media to acquire some type of rhetorical benefit.”

The obvious unauthorized copying of election tools in Espresso County occurred in January 2021. It’s documented in emails, safety digital camera footage and different information produced in response to subpoenas in a long-running lawsuit that argues Georgia’s voting machines are weak and needs to be changed by hand-marked paper ballots.

These information present that a pc forensics workforce traveled to the agricultural county about 200 miles southeast of Atlanta on Jan. 7, 2021, to forensically copy voting tools. Emails present that Sidney Powell and different Trump-allied attorneys had been concerned in arranging for the go to.

The safety video additionally exhibits that Doug Logan and Jeff Lenberg, who had been concerned in broader efforts to forged doubt on the 2020 election outcomes, visited the workplace later that month.

The consultants who despatched the letter Thursday have lengthy criticized Georgia’s voting machines, which print a paper poll that features a human-readable abstract of the voter’s alternatives and a barcode that’s learn by a scanner to tally the votes. They argue the machines already made elections extra weak to tampering as a result of voters can’t learn the barcode to confirm that it precisely displays their alternatives.

However the copying and sharing of election information and software program from Espresso County “will increase each the danger of undetected cyber-attacks on Georgia, and the danger of accusations of fraud and election manipulation,” the letter says.

The skilled letter additionally cites work by College of Michigan pc science professor J. Alex Halderman, who serves as an skilled witness within the long-running voting machines lawsuit. He has recognized what he says are safety vulnerabilities in Georgia’s voting machines. The Division of Homeland Safety’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Safety Company in June issued an advisory primarily based on Halderman’s findings.

Along with urging a swap to hand-marked paper ballots, the consultants say a statewide post-election, risk-limiting audit needs to be executed on the entire races on the poll. A risk-limiting audit basically makes use of a statistical method to make sure that the reported outcomes match the precise votes forged. Present guidelines require just one statewide contest to be audited.

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