Georgia voter records, could they have been compromised?

GEORGIA (WSAV) — The Georgia Secretary of State’s office confirms that an issue discovered last fall may have had implications for the state’s voters. A security flaw was discovered but the Secretary of State’s Office says it was not their problem.

Secretary of State spokeswoman Candice Broce told us a security flaw was discovered at the Center for Election Systems (located at Kennesaw State University.) Apparently, the flaw was found in October but not reported to the Secretary of State’s office until March. “It is inexcusable that we were not informed earlier,” she told News 3.

Political Science Professor Bruce Mallard who lives and works in Savannah says the issue apparently involves a flaw that could have allowed voter records to be compromised. “The biggest vulnerability I think is what the Kennesaw State experience was and that is voter records,” Mallard told us. “(Hackers) could download massive amounts of voter registration information which is also a dangerous problem because you could go in and alter that, delete names for example. It would have a huge effect.”

The Center for Election Systems has a contract with the state to test voting equipment and help write electronic ballots among many other duties. The state says it may cancel its contract with the entity at the end of the month. But the issue brings up increased concerns for groups like Common Cause Georgia which say the state’s overall election system is out of date.

“Our election process including the machines and all of the infrastructure is antiquated and the security breach with voter registration at KSU is just one of many problems with our voting systems,” says Sara Henderson. “We think that the fact it is kind of being kicked under the rug and not discussed and now that KSU is losing their state contract – that is just indicative of what needs to be the beginning of what needs to be a major overhaul of our system.”

Broce told us they have no reason to believe their systems were ever targeted by hackers and say none of their systems were compromised in any way. “It was a matter isolated to that location (at Kennesaw State.)”, she said.

She says Secretary of State Brian Kemp remains confident that the system overall is safe and that anyone who wants to vote in the upcoming special congressional election will be able to do so.

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