election security

By Jayla Whitfield | Fox News

ATLANTA — Since 2017, Georgia has been in a legal battle over the integrity of its elections.

In December, the plaintiffs in the battle, the Coalition for Good Governance, revealed a new finding in their lawsuit against the state of Georgia: Logan Lamb, a security expert for the group, claimed that the state’s election server was left exposed for nearly six months in 2014.

Lamb’s findings suggest that the server was compromised. In a declaration submitted to the court, Lamb states: “I found evidence which suggests a well-known attack named ‘shellshock’ was successfully used against the server. The attack exploits a bug in common server software and gives the attacker full control of the computer.”

The concerns over election security come months before Georgia’s upcoming primary, which is set for March 24.

The inside of the voting machines used during the 2014 alleged breach. 

“If someone wanted to hack the machines, they would have no trouble hacking the machines,” said Richard Demillo, a security expert and Georgia Tech Professor.

Demillo has worked with voting machines for years and says the exposure of the machines could put millions of votes at risk.

Richard Demillo takes apart voting machines and examines their security.  

“Any foreign actor that wanted to come in and mess with the election systems would know that this is an open server,” Demillo said.

The vulnerability of the server could have compromised past elections according to Demillo.

Marilyn Marks, the executive director of the Coalition for Good Governance, says election security is at risk across the nation, but especially in the Peach State.

“If they had gotten in in 2014 or 2015, they could have written code that would affect all future elections,” Marks said.

The Coalition for Good Governance is working to verify the effects of the breach, but it will take time.

“A long forensic investigation will be required to determine: how many people got in, what they did when they got in, did they change votes, did they change people’s voter registration,” Marks said.

The allegations have voters on edge about the security of upcoming elections, according to Marks.

The Coalition for Good Governance has filed a lawsuit asking the court to ban electronic touchscreen voting machines and require hand-marked paper ballots for future elections.

Original lawswuit filed in 2017 by the Coalition of Good Goverance. 

“This issue is central to everything else in our democracy,” Marks said.

Fox News reached out to the office of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who serves as the chief elections officer for the state at the time of the alleged breach. Kemp’s office did not comment.

“No one who is responsible seems to be taking this as seriously as the public is taking it,” Demillo said.

The Coalition for Good Governance made it clear that security issues should not deter voters from casting their ballots. Instead, concerned voters can submit an absentee ballot that they can track online. Jayla Whitfield joined Fox News in 2019 as a multimedia reporter based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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