Computer experts urge Georgia to replace voting machines

·2 min read

A letter to the Georgia Board of Elections asks that the state pause use of all voting machines and replace them with emergency paper ballots.

Two Georgia Tech cybersecurity professors are among the computer scientists and election security advocates who signed the letter.

Their concern is a major security lapse in South Georgia last year.

Security camera video taken Jan. 7, 2021, shows former Coffee County Republican party chair Cathy Latham leading a group of data collectors into the elections office. The software was copied from the county’s election server and Dominion voting machines.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is now investigating.

But the letter expresses concerns that: “The release of the Dominion software into the wild has measurably increased the risk to the real and perceived security of the election to the point that emergency action is warranted.”

“You have to think about this as warfare,” Georgia Tech cybersecurity professor Richard DeMillo said to Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray.

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DeMillo is one of the authors of the letter. He says bad actors may now have a way to examine that election software for vulnerabilities.

“Once you’ve done this reconnaissance, then you can figure out how to weaponize it. Then you can figure out how to deploy it,” DeMillo said.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s office counters that this is limited to the specific machines whose software was copied, and that those machines have been replaced.

Georgia election officials maintain the system as a whole remains secure.

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‘If someone stole the key to your front door and made a copy of it, for security purposes, you’d replace the locks. You wouldn’t burn down your house and go live in a tent. And that’s what we’ve done. We have replaced the equipment in Coffee County that was compromised,” Georgia Secretary of State spokesman Mike Hassinger said.

Channel 2 Action News also reached out to Dominion Voting Systems.

The company told us in a statement: “Nearly two years after the 2020 election, no credible evidence has ever been presented to any court or authority that Dominion voting machines did anything other than count votes accurately and reliably in all states, and Georgia’s certified system remains secure thanks to the many robust operational and procedural safeguards that exist to protect elections.”

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