‘They think they are above the law’: the firms that own America’s voting system

Maryland congressman Jamie Raskin is a newcomer to the cause of reforming America’s vote-counting machines, welcomed through baptism by fire. In 2015, Maryland’s main election system vendor was bought by a parent company with ties to a Russian oligarch. The state’s election officials did not know about the purchase until July 2018, when the FBI notified them of the potential conflict.

The FBI investigated and did not find any evidence of tampering or sharing of voter data. But the incident was a giant red flag as to the potential vulnerabilities of American democracy – especially as many states have outsourced vote-counting to the private sector. After all, the purchase happened while Russian agents were mounting multiple disinformation and cybersecurity campaigns to interfere with America’s 2016 general election.

“To say that they don’t have any evidence of any wrongdoing is not to say that nothing untoward happened,” Raskin said. “It’s simply to say that we don’t have the evidence of it.”

The fact is that democracy in the United States is now largely a secretive and privately-run affair conducted out of the public eye with little oversight. …

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The Guardian

America’s new voting machines bring new fears of election tampering

By design, tens of millions of votes are cast across America on machines that cannot be audited, where the votes cannot be verified, and there is no meaningful paper trail to catch problems – such as a major error or a hack.

For almost 17 years, states and counties around the country have conducted elections on machines that have been repeatedly shown to be vulnerable to hacking, errors and breakdowns, and that leave behind no proof that the votes counted actually match the votes that were cast.

Now, in a climate of fear and suspicion over attacks to America’s voting system sparked by Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, states and counties across the country are working to replace these outdated machines with new ones. The goal is to make the 2020 elections secure. …

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The Guardian

Georgia Lawsuit May Allow Rare Glimpse Into Its Elections

The big-ticket races in Georgia, which drew national attention, have been decided — but the battle over the controversial way the state runs its elections rages on. A lawsuit contesting the outcome of the lieutenant governor’s race could provide a rare glimpse into the Peach State’s elections infrastructure and an opportunity to audit its non-transparent voting machines.

The lawsuit, filed by an election integrity group and three Georgia citizens Friday night, will attempt to prove that there were enough irregularities “as to place doubt in the result,” as state law requires for an election contest. At issue are unusual election results that the lawsuit says can only be explained by voting machine malfunctions. To prove that something is wrong, the plaintiffs will need to conduct detailed reviews of the internal memory and programming of DRE voting machines, a level of access that has never been allowed in Georgia…

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WhoWhatWhy

Georgia Runoff Will Likely ‘Contaminate’ Voting Machines As Evidence

This week, election officials across Georgia are going to break a rule in the election code and tamper with potential evidence as they prepare for December’s runoff and special elections, just as they have since 2002.

The rule in question mandates the maintenance of the internal memory of voting machines for one month after an election. The problem is that Georgia has an election schedule that makes that rule essentially impossible to enforce. Runoffs, like the one coming up on December 4, often happen within a month of the main election…

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WhoWhatWhy

Federal Election Comes Down to Which Votes Won’t Be Counted

Desiree Paula Martindale was visiting her children in New Jersey and knew she wouldn’t be back in Georgia until December, so in mid-October she decided to send an absentee ballot in the mail.

While she did her part, it is still unclear one week after the election whether her vote will be counted. And that is not sitting well with her. Reached in New Jersey Tuesday morning, the 82-year-old, originally from Guyana, said she was “irritated…”

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WhoWhatWhy

79,784 Requested Mail-In Ballots Have Not Been Counted in Georgia

When polls opened on Election Day, 79,784 Georgians who requested an absentee, mail-in ballot had not returned their ballot and have not voted early. WhoWhatWhy’s exclusive reporting allows those voters to check the status of their votes while there’s just enough time to still get to the polls.

Among all voters who have been issued a ballot but have not yet voted, 44.1 percent are black, 36.6 percent are white, and 5.4 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander…

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WhoWhatWhy

Brian Kemp and His Staff Caught in a String of Falsehoods

Since WhoWhatWhy exclusively revealed major security gaps in Georgia’s voter registration and voter information websites — vulnerabilities severe enough to potentially compromise the election — the secretary of state’s office has made a series of statements that are unfounded and, frequently, outright false.

Brian Kemp is the Republican candidate for governor in Tuesday’s election against Democrat Stacey Abrams. But he is also Georgia’s secretary of state, putting him in charge of the state’s elections mechanism while also competing in the marquee contest…

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WhoWhatWhy

Jim Crow–Era Voter Suppression Still Widely Accepted

Going to jail for voting has become a real concern for some Georgians, like Pamela Winn.

Until this week, Winn was worried about casting her own ballot. She’s registered. She knows the politicians and the issues. But she has a felony conviction, too.

Winn’s fears have been stoked by a spate of cases across the country where people have been prosecuted for voting while still on state supervision — despite the fact that none of those votes altered the outcome of any election and the voters did not know it was illegal for them to cast a ballot…

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WhoWhatWhy

Kemp’s Aggressive Gambit to Distract From Election Security Crisis

When Georgia Democrats were alerted to what they believe to be major vulnerabilities in the state’s voter registration system Saturday, they contacted computer security experts who verified the problems. They then notified Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s lawyers and national intelligence officials in the hope of getting the problems fixed.

Instead of addressing the security issues, Kemp’s office put out a statement Sunday saying he had opened an investigation that targets the Democrats for hacking.

Kemp’s statement has become top news nationwide, but the context and background have yet to be reported — so we are providing it below…

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WhoWhatWhy

This story became national news. My reporting was cited by the AP, Bloomberg, CNN, The Guardian, McClatchy, NBC, ProPublic, Slate, and other national outlets. The Washington Post and the New York times followed suit and published their own stories.