Political Notes — Who wiped the data from the state’s election server?

[private]The Associated Press rolled out a blockbuster story Thursday that has huge implications for the governor’s race — some unknown party wiped the data from a state election computer server that’s the object of a lawsuit.

Here’s how the AP reported it:

The server’s data was destroyed July 7 by technicians at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University, which runs the state’s election system. The data wipe was revealed in an email — sent last week from an assistant state attorney general to plaintiffs in the case — that was obtained by the AP.

More emails obtained in a public records request confirmed the wipe.

The lawsuit, filed by a diverse group of election reform advocates, aims to force Georgia to retire its antiquated and heavily criticized election technology. The server in question, which served as a statewide staging location for key election-related data, made national headlines in June after a security expert disclosed a gaping security hole that wasn’t fixed six months after he reported it to election authorities.

The person who deleted the election data has yet to be identified.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who’s running for the GOP nomination for governor, is ultimately responsible for the administration of state elections.

A Kemp spokesperson said, “we did not have anything to do with this decision (to wipe the data),” but Kemp still found himself the target of criticism from the state Democratic Party.

“The two (computer) breaches in the span in two years have been a pattern of mismanagement and disarray at the Office of the Secretary of State under Brian Kemp’s leadership,” the Democratic Party said in an e-mailed statement.

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-DeKalb County) also chimed in:

“What appears to be a willful and premeditated destruction of evidence by Georgia election officials heightens my suspicion that there was manipulation of the election results in the April 18th Sixth District congressional primary, in which Jon Ossoff came only 3,200 votes shy of winning outright without a runoff,” Johnson said.

“The apparent deliberate destruction of evidence that could have proven the unreliability of Georgia’s electronic voting process tells me that electronic voting has not impeded what has occurred throughout Georgia’s electoral history – blatant cheating,” Johnson added.

Watson pleads guilty

Former state legislator and DeKalb County commissioner Stan Watson pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of taking $3,000 in county funds that was intended to pay for official government trips.

The offense was treated as a misdemeanor by DeKalb Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson, who sentenced Watson to 12 months probation and 150 hours of community service.

Watson currently holds no political office after running unsuccessfully for DeKalb tax commissioner last year.

Another candidate in 6th CD

Sandy Springs businessman Kevin Abel announced Thursday he will run as a Democrat for the 6th Congressional District seat now held by Rep. Karen Handel

“I am committed to engaging earnestly with members of both parties to find the common ground for which we Americans so deeply yearn,” Abel said.

Abel is the co-founder of Abel Solutions, an IT consulting firm based in Alpharetta.

Former TV anchorman Bobby Kaple is also running as a Democrat in the 6th District.

Rest in peace

Martha Gilland, a longtime aide to Zell Miller who later worked for Sen. Johnny Isakson, died Monday of an apparent heart attack at her home in Conyers.

A memorial service will be announced later for Gilland, who was 76 when she died.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report


Tags: 6th Congressional District race , Brian Kemp , election computer lawsuit , Kevin Abel , Martha Gilland , Stan Watson