Is Georgia Voter Data Secure?

Way back last December, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp asked the Department of Homeland Security to explain an apparent “…attempted breach of the state’s computer systems that house its voter registration database by someone in the federal government.”  As crazy as that may sound, there are similar and separate allegations about attempted data breaches of the voter databases in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Idaho.

Data security isn’t a brand new issue for Secretary Kemp, whose office accidentally released over 6 million complete voter records, including Social Security numbers and other personal data in October 2015. Kemp fired a staffer and claimed to have recovered the discs containing the information, but nobody’s ever really sure about that sort of stuff.

The Democrats are now playing politics with the most recent allegation, that somebody at Homeland Security attempted to penetrate the voter database in the Elections center at Kennesaw State University. According to Greg Bluestein in the AJC:  

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation launched an inquiry into the suspected cyberattack on this month at the request of state officials after they received notice that records kept by the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University may have been compromised.  Kemp, who oversees the state’s elections, has said little about the breach since the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the FBI’s involvement – aside from a brief statement expressing confidence the federal investigators would track down the perpetrator.

Apparently that’s not good enough for Doobie Porter, head of the Democrat party of Georgia, who’s demanding that Kemp accept assitance from Homeland -the very agency suspected of perpetrating the alleged penetration.

Jon Ossoff, D-Al Jazeera, has also “…pressed Kemp’s office to disclose the nature and suspected origin of the attack, the type and quantity of data that may have been disclosed and an assessment of whether the breach could impact the April 18 special election to replace former Rep. Tom Price.”

While there might be some advantage in Porter dinging Kemp for being unable to secure voter data -arguably the most important job of the Secretary of State- and thereby hamstringing his run for Governor next year, I can’t see any political advantage in casting doubt on the integrity of the results in the upcoming special in the 6th District. Every observer who’s not named Bob Gray expects a runoff between media darling Ossoff, who leads the Democrat field, and veteran campaigner Karen Handel, who has led the Republican field since before qualifying. The voters most likely to turn out for an April special and a June runoff will be distilled down the most devout voters -those who know their precinct locations and understand the process better than most. There won’t be any problems with THEIR voter data -of that they’re sure.

In that environment, there’s no advantage to Ossoff in doubting the security of the voter data and the integrity of the election results. At least none that I can see. YMMV, and if it does, please enlighten us all in the comments.

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