Employees at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University, which runs Georgia's elections system, destroyed data from a computer server just a few days after a lawsuit was filed against state election officials, The Associated Press reports.
The lawsuit was filed July 3 by election reform advocates, who want Georgia to stop using its old and flawed election technology. The state uses AccuVote touchscreen voting machines, which are easy to hack and do not keep hard copies of who people voted for. The plaintiffs, who want this system retired, also argued that the results of November's election and a special congressional runoff on June 20 cannot be trusted because of the problematic machines.
An email obtained by AP shows that on July 7, center technicians wiped clean a server that held important statewide election-related data. It's not clear who ordered that the data, which could have revealed if the results of recent elections were compromised, be erased. A spokesperson for Brian Kemp, Georgia's Republican secretary of state, said his office was not involved.
In August 2016, a security researcher named Logan Lamb found a major security hole in the server — information on Georgia's 6.7 million voters was online, including their Social Security numbers, party affiliation, and birthdays. Lamb said based on what he saw, the polling data could have been altered, with voters dropped and added, AP reports, and he notified election authorities. Six months later, it wasn't fixed, and the FBI became involved in March. Kennesaw State said in a statement Thursday that the server was set to be repurposed after the FBI returned it, and that's why it was wiped clean. Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech computer scientist following the case, told AP that deleting the data "forestalls any forensic investigation at all. People who have nothing to hide don't behave this way." Catherine Garcia
The second public meeting of President Trump's voter fraud commission, held Tuesday in New Hampshire, included protesters who called the commission a "sham" and a few rebukes of vice chairman and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who claimed in a Breitbart News column last week it was "highly likely" that voters in New Hampshire with out-of-state driver's licenses gave Democrat Maggie Hassan her recent Senate win.
Kobach's unsubstantiated claim was refuted by other members of the commission, including New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner (D), who said that Kobach's column questioned "whether our elections that we have recorded is real and valid. And it is real and valid." Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap (D) described the column, which argued that Hassan's race was "stolen through voter fraud," as "reckless," adding that there is "no connection between motor vehicle law and election law. That would be almost as absurd as saying if you have cash in your pocket that you robbed a bank."
New Hampshire allows people who live in the state but do not have New Hampshire driver's licenses to vote, and experts have said there is no evidence of voter fraud in the race. Kobach said he struggled with "what verb to use" in his column because it's a "complex legal issue," NBC News reports, so he decided to say it "appears" there was possible fraud. The commission, which plans to report on its findings within the year, also discussed improving voter turnout and election security, and listened to experts and officials present on different voting issues.
The protesters who gathered outside said they were concerned that the commission, started by Trump after he made the unfounded claim that there were 3 to 5 million illegal votes cast in the 2016 presidential election, was really going to make it harder for people to vote. Jason Kander, the former Missouri secretary of state and leader of Let America Vote, called Trump's allegation "the biggest lie a sitting president has ever said. I call it the Voter Suppression Committee to Elect the President. This is not a policy difference. This is a political strategy." Catherine Garcia