July 3, 2019
By FRANK BAJAK
The case of whether hackers may have tampered with elections in Georgia has taken another strange turn.
Nearly two years ago, state lawyers in a closely watched election integrity lawsuit told the judge they intended to subpoena the FBI for the forensic image, or digital snapshot, the agency made of a crucial server before state election officials quietly wiped it clean. Election watchdogs want to examine the data to see if there might have been tampering, given that the server was left exposed by a gaping security hole for more than half a year.
A new email obtained by The Associated Press says state officials never did issue the subpoena, even though the judge had ordered that evidence be preserved, including from the FBI.
The FBI data is central to activists’ challenge to Georgia’s highly questioned, centrally administered elections system, which lacks an auditable paper trail and was run at the time by Gov. Brian Kemp, then Georgia’s secretary of state.
The plaintiffs contend Kemp’s handling of the wiped server is the most glaring example of mismanagement that could be hiding evidence of vote tampering. They have been fighting for access to the state’s black-box voting systems and to individual voting machines, many of which they say have also been altered in violation of court order.
Marilyn Marks of the Coalition for Good Governance, a plaintiff in the case, said that if the state failed to secure the data from the FBI — despite informing U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg in October 2017 of its intent to do so with the subpoena — it clearly has something to hide.