[A Jim Crow Mystery] Georgia Election Server Mysteriously Wiped Clean After Lawsuit Reveals Major Vulnerabilities

About 44 percent of Georgia's population are classified as non-white, according to the Center for American Progress. That's up from 37 percent just a decade ago. During that period, non-whites have accounted for 81 percent of the state's population growth.

African-Americans account for the largest share of that growth, followed by Hispanics, whose numbers nearly doubled during that period to more than 850,000, making it the 10th-largest state by Hispanic population. [MORE] and [MORE] Now Dems are hoping Stacey Evans, a member of the Georgia House of Representatives will become the 1st Black female elected as Governor. Don't hold your breath in racist system

Election Hoax. Techdirt has long highlighted how most implementations of electronic voting simply aren't safe or secure. The Diebold disaster in 2006, Sequoia's security scandal in 2008, and a rotating flood of similar stories since, have driven this point home time, and time, and time again. And despite these warnings neither the companies that make these machines, nor the election commissions or local governments tasked with overseeing them, have done enough (or, in many cases, much of anything) to ensure that our Democratic process is secure.

The latest example of just how not under control this problem is comes out of Georgia, where reports indicate that somebody managed to completely wipe a server integral to a lawsuit against Georgia election officials. The lawsuit, filed by a coalition of election reform advocates, is attempting to force Georgia to retire antiquated and heavily-criticized election technology that has been under fire in the media since June, after security researchers indicated that the touch-screen machines could be easily tampered with without leaving much of a trace:

A misconfigured server, Logan Lamb discovered last August, had left Georgia’s 6.7 million voter records and other sensitive files exposed to hackers. And it may have been left unfixed for seven months. The vulnerability might have allowed attackers to plant malware and possibly rig votes or wreak chaos with voter rolls by deleting or altering records — a major concern amid heightened sensitivity to state-sponsored Russian election hacking.

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the servers of interest in the case were mysteriously wiped by technicians at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University, which oversees the state’s election system. The Associated Press only discovered the wipe after obtaining an email from an assistant state attorney general to plaintiffs in the case. Efforts to determine who requested that the server be wiped clean have so far gone nowhere:

The Kennesaw election center answers to Georgia’s secretary of state, Brian Kemp, a Republican who is running for governor in 2018 and is the main defendant in the suit. A spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office said Wednesday that “we did not have anything to do with this decision,” adding that the office also had no advance warning of the move. The center’s director, Michael Barnes, referred questions to the university’s press office, which declined comment.

Plaintiffs in the case have argued that data from last November’s election and a special June 20th congressional runoff cannot be trusted due to the unresolved flaws in the machines. And while the election server would have gone a long way toward answering that concern, it was wiped clean on July 7 -- just four days after the lawsuit was filed. Two backup servers were subsequently wiped clean on August 9, just as the case was moving to federal court.