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The Georgia secretary of state’s office is making another move to shore up ballot integrity.
Officials plan to replace voting equipment in one county following “unauthorized access” to it just two months after the 2020 election, The Associated Press reported Friday.
The outlet added:
A computer forensics team hired by allies of then-President Donald Trump traveled to Coffee County, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Atlanta, on Jan. 7, 2021. A company representative has said they made complete copies of the election management system server and other election system components. Later that month, two men who have been involved in efforts to discredit the 2020 election results also spent hours inside the elections office with access to the equipment.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) noted that an investigation into the unauthorized access by former elections officials with Coffee County is ongoing.
“Anyone who broke the law should be punished to its full extent,” he said in a news release. “But the current election officials in Coffee County have to move forward with the 2022 election, and they should be able to do so without this distraction.”
Security camera footage shows “former election officials in Coffee County permitting access by unauthorized individuals to equipment that under Georgia law should have been secured,” the release said, noting that the video was produced to comply with a subpoena issued by plaintiffs who are suing state elections officials claiming that Georgia’s touchscreen voting machines are not being kept secure.
“The county’s election management server and central scanner workstation were previously replaced in June 2021, officials have said,” the AP reported. “The county will receive 100 new touchscreen voting machines, 100 printers, 10 precinct scanners, 21 tablets used to check in voters and new flash cards and thumb drives to be installed and tested before early voting begins next month.”
The newswire added: “Marilyn Marks, executive director of the Coalition for Good Governance, a plaintiff in the voting machine lawsuit, said the election management server and central scanner workstation should also be replaced. She said that’s because they were used with the other potentially contaminated equipment in elections since their replacement last year.”
Other cases involving voting machines have advanced since the contested 2020 election.
In July, U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi issued an order granting a hearing in response to a request for a preliminary injunction against the use of electronic voting machines and subsequent motions to dismiss filed by defendants Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
The original injunction was filed by plaintiffs Kari Lake, the Trump-backed GOP nominee for governor of Arizona, and Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem, a Republican who is running for secretary of state.
“As there is substantial overlap in the motions, the Court will entertain consolidated presentations from the parties,” the judge ordered. “Plaintiffs will have no more than two hours to present all argument and, as pertains to their application for injunctive relief, evidence. Defendants shall have no more than three hours collectively to present their argument and evidence.”
In the complaint, Lake and Finchem argued that they have “a constitutional and statutory right to have their ballots, and all ballots cast together with theirs, counted accurately and transparently so that only legal votes determine the winners of each office contested in the Midterm Election.”
“The use of untested and unverified electronic voting machines violates the rights of Plaintiffs and their fellow voters and office seekers, and it undermines public confidence in the validity of election results,” the complaint reads. “Just as the government cannot insist on ‘trust me,’ so too, private companies that perform governmental functions, such as vote counting, cannot be trusted without verification.”
That case is now with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In May, Michigan State Police seized a number of voting machines as part of an expanded investigation into allegations that they may have been breached during the 2020 election.
The state probe is aimed at determining whether anyone who should not have been allowed to access voting machine data was able to breach election protocols.