by Countable | 7.5.17
What’s the story? The New York Times reports a government watchdog group, in concert with six Georgia residents, has filed suit to have the results of the June 6 Georgia special election between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff voided, citing concerns with voting machine security and a lack of paper ballots to back up the vote results.
Handel, who won with 52 percent of the vote, has already been sworn in, though Monday was the last day to file a contest of the vote results.
Why does it matter? The suit, filed by the Coalition for Good Governance, cites the work of two independent researchers who discovered last August that, "a misconfigured server had left Georgia's 6.7 million voter records and other sensitive files exposed to hackers."
The suit comes amid widespread coverage of Russian-backed attempts to hack voter systems in multiple states leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
The defendants named in the suit include Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, members of the State Election Board, local election officials in Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb counties and the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University.
Secretary of State Kemp stated in an op-ed Sunday that states are doing enough to keep voting systems secure and any media coverage to the contrary is "fake news":
"Informed, non-partisan experts agree that manipulating a presidential election makes a good TV storyline but lacks real-world standing. State voting systems are diverse, highly scrutinized and not connected to the Internet. Web-based attacks on voter registration do not affect the vote count. The thing that matters most — your vote — is secure.”
What can you do? Ask yourself these questions and then let your reps know what you think: Should the results of the Georgia election be put on hold until any investigations involved in this suit be concluded? Should all states be required to have paper ballot back-up for all votes? Do you have concerns about voting security in your state? Or, do you think the whole issue is a false narrative?
Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!
— Asha Sanaker
(Photo Credit: WSB Radio / Creative Commons)
Written by Countable
Why don't we bring this a little closer to home. What if you had a balance of five thousand dollars in your checking account. When you checked your online account statement tou found that number to be significantly less, say balance of three thousand. Would you just say " huh, I must have been mistaken". Of course you wouldn't. That's your money. Well it's your government too and because you and I know there exists corruption in government we should make sure that there is a system for checks and balances in place. Sure, maybe this time your candidate won but what about next when your candidate loses.
My first real concerns on this issue came after seeing the 2006 Emmy-nominated documentary, "Hacking Democracy". It showed just how easy it was back then to rig electronic voting, and the degree of sophistication involved in hacking today is so much more evolved. Then I saw the movie , "Man of the Year", with Robin Williams, about how hacking could change the results of a US Presidential election. If I had not already seen the above-mentioned documentary, I knew the plot line was not fantasy. And now, we have the Russian government actively hacking our own election. And yet, Republicans and their president simply ignore the existence and threat posed to our country. 'Why investigate when you can obfuscate?' seems to be their motto. This trend toward doing nothing to really protect the voting process -- except to falsely claim without any proof that untold millions illegally voted and that's why Trump lost the popular vote -- only serves to further erode confidence in the legitimacy of our elections. Mission Accomplished for Russia.
If there is nothing to hide then let the investigation begin. Voting is our basic right. Without fairness and fear of fraud, what do we vote for?
There should always be physical evidence of our vote in the form of paper ballots.
Let the results be validated with a paper ballot election. If the people of that district were honestly represented then they will make their voices heard again and the same results will be found. If not, then the true majority will be properly represented.
It's amazing to me that the current president claims widespread voter fraud until it involves claims against republicans...then it's fake news.
Unfortunately, in these uncertain times, I think that we need physical evidence of how we voted.
Unfortunately yes. This Administration nor the Congress are taking the possibility of election manipulation seriously. The partisan rhetoric during hearings displays the lack of focus on fair and free election that the Republicans share. They seem to be focusing on the diatribe that as of yet there is no proof of election fraud. The Presidents election commission adds more concern as it's focus seems to be on voter suppression rather than the security of the vote itself. Georgia's recent election was conducted amongst numerous questionable factors: voting machines stolen the Saturday before the election in Cobb County but reported two (2) days later; server settings improperly configured which would allow outside access and no paper trail that can be used to verify vote totals and yet in today atmosphere the theoretical winner has been sworn into office. Elections today rely on computer hardware and software and networking and some are reliant on access to secure internet connections. Georgia's voting machines are paperless, are 17 years old and the software was last updated 14 years ago. Anyone with any interest in computer know that they have a set life expectancy before faults begin to occur. These machines were used by other states but have been replaced by machines with paper vote tracking. Some of the machines were replaced due to component failure/memory loss. All state voting systems should be maintained by computer experts who test, update, maintain the components of the machines and certify the functionality of each machine prior to its use. Simply put these people who are responsible for the veracity of our voting system are not qualified to ensure the public that all of the votes were counted as they were cast. In Georgia's case they have nothing that they can point to and say that this is proof other than their word. Prior to the vote there was an attempt to garner support for paper ballot in the election. The suggestion was denied. As in our country's past the current political atmosphere where partisan politics rule, if the ruling political party wins they would just not want to question to closely and any improprieties are ignored.
I think the Georgia special election should be looked into and if any changes in that election need to be made they should. I think all states need a paper ballot back up system as electronic ones don't seem to be reliable. This is a very important matter in preserving our Democracy and needs to be fixed ASAP. Thank you.
My preference is to go to paper ballots exclusively in all elections. Since that isn't likely to happen, all states should be required to have paper ballots as a backup.
Paper backup ballots should always exist.
This should be a wake-up call to all states to upgrade and update there system for all upcoming elections. It's about time the security concerns of the voting public be front and center in the atmosphere of the election process . No excuses...
That is sad that they believe this election is tainted. The suit is their right and will settle the matter. Personally knowing Georgia I believe Handel probably won. I think it would be so amazing to work with my neighbors of all parties and do a back up hand counting of ballots in every district in America. This is what they do in Germany - hang out all weekend and count it up. Right now everybody in our country is losing confidence that the vote is being counted correctly. This is a really sad state of affairs and I think it something that we as citizens will all feel good about only if we get in there and verify the results for ourselves. I also think we should vote over two days like they do in France - Sundays and Mondays would be perfect, right?
Paper ballots should be used to avoid as much corruption as possible! Tired of this crap!
Electronic voting is NOT working. It is vital we return to accountability.
It's pretty obvious what needs to happen. Put the results on hold. She probably won, but that's not the point. Next, a government commission of nonpartisan experts needs to research how we can best protect our elections. Paper ballots seems like a great option, except that it could be a bit dangerous given an administration that wants nothing more than to get its paws on our individual voting records. Once the commission issued a report, it should be taken seriously and the suggestions implemented. But that requires the GOP to also widen up and start taking the threat seriously.
Void it and void trumps presidency who the Russians helped get elected .
Again an example of why we should put our x on paper.....
If Trump is truly investigating voter fraud, simply reviewing this should be an non-issue.
It's important to keep looking for facts in a country led by a president that lies on a daily basis and urges others to violence and crime. So yes... lets check the votes in the Georgia election.