Georgia Susceptible to Falsification of Electronic Voting Results
ATLANTA, GEORGIA – September 19, 2018
A federal judge ruled Monday that Georgia can continue using electronic voting machines in November’s election despite concerns they could be forged or 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.
Georgia election officials had warned of chaos if the state were forced to change to paper on short notice before a major election. Election officials said in court last week the government would have struggled to find money to buy enough paper ballots, count them in a timely manner, ensure accuracy and prevent long lines.
The arguments of the opposite side that electronic ballots can be tampered with, and the DRE systems hacked by Russians, Chinese or others are not accepted.
Meanwhile, some experts, mostly Democrats, said Georgia’s touchscreens could be penetrated and election results changed without leaving a trace. Without a paper ballot backup, there’s no way to tell if an election is altered, and no way to correct potential errors.
As we have repeatedly written, for liberals, the November elections are the final battle, a kind of Waterloo, in which, if they are defeated, they will leave the political arena for years to come. They are ready to advance on all fronts as much as possible. In Georgia, they bet on Stacey Abrams, who is bidding to become its first black female governor. While Atlanta is already a liberal stronghold, Democrats believe statewide demographics are moving in their direction. Georgia’s population has soared nearly 30% to 10.4 million over two decades, the proportion of registered voters who are not white rising from 27% to 46%. They believe that Stacey Abrams has supporters in all 159 Georgia counties.
Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director of the Black Voters Matter Fund, said: “There has been a narrative since 2016 that the Democrats ignored white rural America, but most of black America in the south is rural. You’ve got to run a statewide campaign. There’s no map to flipping Georgia that just runs through metro Atlanta. Period. It takes support from outside.”
The point was illustrated last December when Roy Moore, a scandal-plagued Trump-backed Republican, suffered a shock defeat in neighboring Alabama, not only because of high turnout in Democratic bastions such as Birmingham but also because of an energized African American vote in rural parts of the state.
Republicans in Georgia stand accused of trying to shut down multiple polling places in majority black counties. Governor Kemp’s office cancelled the registration of more than half a million voters last year, ostensibly in an effort to clean up the voting rolls. Albright said he has taken calls from voters who received letters warning that they could be purged over spurious technicalities.
“It’s clear what the intentions are,” he continued. “Absent of voter suppression, Abrams wins. My biggest concern is the stuff we don’t have control of: the suppression, the tampering with machines. We don’t have a paper trail in Georgia. When you have a secretary of state who refuses to step down while he is running for governor, it opens the way for all sorts of irregularities.”
That is why Democrats consider the decision of the U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg in the context of possible voting manipulation. They claim the machine produces the results it's programmed to produce. And computers are programmed by the Republican authorities. If they wish, they can do it by themselves or with the help of Russian hackers to draw convenient result without leaving a trace. Without a paper ballot it will be impossible to check and challenge the results.
Georgia officials say there’s no evidence that Georgia’s 27,000 touchscreen voting machines have been hacked during an election.
Gov Kemp said state and local governments have been preparing for the election for months. He said Georgia’s electronic voting machines are secure.
“We’ve made it very clear that (paper ballots) would be a disaster for this election. That’s something that will throw us into chaos,” Kemp said.
Democrats object malware could be written so that it’s undetectable. In their opinion, the Totenberg's decision means that the government already has mechanisms that will allow them to achieve the desired result in the vote. And if necessary, write it off like that it were the Russian, Chinese, Korean or any other "elusive" hackers.
Thus, they are already setting the stage for rejection of the voting results in case they lose the elections. This is a very dangerous trend.
Today, most voters in the United States cast their ballots on a system that includes a paper record that can be checked for accuracy.
Georgia legislators are considering a transition to a paper-based voting system in time for the 2020 presidential election. They plan to consider bills next year to buy a system that uses either hand-marked paper ballots or touchscreens to fill in a paper ballot.