According to reports by WhoWhatWhy and the Associated Press, five security experts have confirmed a private citizen’s allegation that the Georgia Online Voter Database contains a major security flaw and is vulnerable to hackers. According to one of the experts from the University of Michigan, anyone with access to an individual voter’s personal information could alter that voter’s information in the database. Another commented that the problem is easily detectable, and that it was clear that the system “has never been audited by any computer security professional.”
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is running for Governor, has been accused in the past for poor security measures of the state election system and other problems with the State’s systems. Just after the 2016 election, Kemp accused the Department of Homeland Security of hacking into his office’s network, which the Inspector General determined to be unfounded in 2017. In 2015, Kemp’s office released Social Security numbers and other personal information of millions of Georgia voters, which was blamed on a clerical error. And last year he was criticized for taking six months to fix what has been described as a “gaping” security hole in the State’s system that exposed identifiable data of 6.7 million Georgians, as well as the passwords used by county officials to access the files. Kemp blamed that incident on the vendor that manages the system.
According to reports, Georgia is one of only five states nationwide that exclusively relies on electronic voting machines. These voting machines have been declared “untrustworthy” by security experts as they can be hacked and do not include a paper audit trail. That means that the election system cannot be audited with a paper trail if a problem occurs during election day.
The Georgia Governor’s race is hotly contested even without a hackable and verifiable election platform. Throwing the wild card of hackers and system manipulators into the mix will make for an interesting election result in Georgia tonight.