There are still a lot of questions left over from the 2016 election. We know for a fact that the Russian Federation sought to influence voters through a concerted campaign of misinformation and propaganda, but it’s still unclear if the Trump campaign colluded with the foreign adversary, and we don’t have a full picture of how the Russians may have affected the vote in other ways.
The Associated Press reports that a key server used in Georgia elections was wiped clean shortly after a lawsuit was filed. The server would have been an important piece of evidence in the case.
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The lawsuit in question was part of an effort to force the state into reforming and modernizing its outdated election technology, which has remained largely unchanged for the past fifteen years. Plaintiffs in the case are mostly Georgia voters who want the state to move to paper ballots or electronic systems less susceptible to hacking.
The plaintiffs hoped that a review of the server’s data would provide proof of the current system’s problems. It also may have shown whether the recent Congressional special election which saw Republican Karen Handel defeat Democrat Jon Ossoff and perhaps even the presidential election had been affected by hackers.
Richard Demillo, a computer scientist told the AP that the data deletion “forestalls any forensic investigation at all.” He added,“People who have nothing to hide don’t behave this way.”
“I don’t think you could find a voting systems expert who would think the deletion of the server data was anything less than insidious and highly suspicious,” said the Executive Director of the Coalition for Good Governance, Marilyn Marks. Marks is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The server functioned as a center for data from all across the state. In June, it was revealed by a security expert that it had crucial, compromising security weaknesses.
It’s as yet unclear who ordered the removal of the server’s data and why. However, the election center that wiped the data is beholden to the Republican Secretary of State for Georgia, Brian Kemp who is running for governor next year. Kemp is the main defendant in the aforementioned lawsuit, but his spokeswoman denied any role in the server wiping.
There is still a chance the wiped data could be recovered. When the original security hole was discovered, the FBI copied the server data to aid in their investigation. Hopefully, they still have the information. The people of Georgia and the country as a whole deserve answers.