Fortunately for Georgia citizens, the state had setup a network to ensure that its voting system was adequately protected against intrusions. Georgia officials explain that attempts to penetrate the election system occurred on 10 separate occasions, beginning as early as February 2, 2016.
On August 25, 2016, Secretary of State Brian Kemp sent an email to Nextgov, an online blog regarding a discussion involving the federal designation voting systems as critical infrastructure. In the email, Kemp expressed his disapproval:
“The question remains whether the federal government will subvert the Constitution to achieve the goal of federalizing elections under the guise of security… Designating voting systems or any other election system as critical infrastructure would be a vast federal overreach, the cost of which would not equally improve the security of elections in the United States.”
On December 13, 2016, Kemp sent a letter to the Donald Trump asking for an explanation as to why their servers had been intruded upon.
IP logs, according to Georgia officials, demonstrate that the scanning had been sent from Department of Homeland Security servers, which were later determined to originate from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in the state. DHS officials stated that it an independent contractor who accessed the logs as part of their routine duties. However, this has not stopped the Office of Inspector General from inquiring further.
In addition to Georgia, there are other states who were probed or infiltrated by the same server address attributed to DHS. Kentucky, West Virginia as well as at least one other state have been confirmed to been either scanned or penetrated which is highly concerning to many as to whether this is related to Russian Election Hacking. If not, it most certainly demonstrates that the was weakness and the government may have been probing states and counties for vulnerability.
Officials have not ruled out Russian or other foreign influence in the hacking attempt, but Kemp strongly believes it was DHS who originated the attack. However, even assuming this was the case, questions still abound as to why the federal government might have been attempting to scan states’ systems for vulnerabilities. Perhaps the reason is that they knew the systems were vulnerable to Russian hacking?
The House and Senate have on-going investigations on the Election Hacking and the foreign hacking/influence issue and are planning to meet within the next week or two in order to discuss progress related to the work. House Republican Representative Darrell Issa has already explained that there was possible election hacking. Senator Feinstien has placed strong verbaige attesting to the veracity of reports on her website of Russian Election Hacking and there have been countless others calling for action.
The issue is of pressing concern as has previously been discussed. There is convincing evidence which demonstrates how Election Hackers probably penetrated the system in the 2016 election. Additionally, questions abound regarding Trump and his administration’s possible ties to Russia as discussed in a recent, yet controversial dossier. To top things off, there is still a Supreme Court case regarding the Russian election hacking and influence issues discussed above and plaintiffs have stated they are seeking a revote. Georgia’s experience demonstrates that although some GOP members may benefit from the election of Trump, election hacking by a foreign government needs to be immediately redressed and the Supreme Court is in the best position to do so.