Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger gives an update on the state of the election and ballot count during a news conference at the State Capitol in Atlanta, Ga., on Nov. 6, 2020. (Dustin Chambers/Reuters)
By Zachary Stieber
January 29, 2022 Updated: February 14, 2022
Georgia’s secretary of state has joined plaintiffs in lawsuit filed against him in calling for the release of a report that analyzes Dominion Voting Systems equipment.
The report, completed by J. Alex Halderman, director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, was filed under seal in Curling v. Raffensperger, a federal case that alleged hackers had “the capability” and “easy access” to voting machines in Georgia. It has been described by some as a “secret report.”
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said Jan. 26 that the report should be made public because it is “generating misleading media articles about the Dominion voting equipment used in Georgia.”
Halderman was given full access to the state’s election system, which utilizes Dominion equipment, state officials say.
“The public deserves to know the context of J. Alex Halderman’s claims and his testimony regarding the 2020 election,” Raffensperger said, adding that the system “is safe and secure.”
Little has been revealed about the report in court sessions and in court documents but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that it concluded hackers could change votes if they gained access to the machines.
U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg, an Obama nominee, told parties in the case a day after Raffensperger’s call that she would review a version of the report with redactions and decide whether to release it.
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in a recent filing that it has a process in place to address vulnerabilities that are disclosed and called disclosing such weaknesses as “critical to the security of our Nation’s information systems.” However, the agency later said it opposes the release of the report, at least for now.
Several media outlets are also asking for the report’s release, as are plaintiffs in the case.
“We do support public disclosure of a slightly redacted copy of the report and have been pushing for that for months,” David Cross, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, told The Epoch Times in an email.
Cross noted that Raffensperger has until his recent statement opposed the release of the report, which was filed in July 2021.
“His lawyers have objected to every request we and Dr. Halderman have made to the Court over the last several months to make the report public and provide it to federal and state election security officials. His implication that Dr. Halderman or the judge has prevented him and his office from learning the substance of the report and addressing the many serious BMD vulnerabilities identified in it is simply untrue,” he wrote.
BMD stands for Ballot Marking Device.
“The timing of the Secretary’s attacks is no coincidence. Now that Governor Kemp publicly called him out for failing to comply with his duties to address those vulnerabilities and for ignoring the report since last summer, he’s desperate to point the finger at others. But he made the decision many months ago not to address the report, and he’s accountable to voters for that deliberate dereliction. In classic fashion, he chose to politicize the issue rather than simply do what the Governor directed him to do and what’s he obligated to do: secure Georgia’s election system,” Cross added.
Kemp, a Republican running for re-election, said in a statement on Jan. 26 that the secretary of state “should immediately gather all relevant information regarding this report, thoroughly vet its findings, and assure Georgians he is doing everything possible to ensure the system, procedures and equipment are completely secure.”
Halderman, whose report on Michigan’s election system was cited by Democrat officials there, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
John Poulos, Dominion’s CEO and president, said in a statement released by Raffensperger’s office that Halderman’s review did not “include a holistic approach of all safeguards in place, including procedural and technical safeguards.”
“Dominion supports all efforts to bring real facts and evidence forward to defend the integrity of our machines and the credibility of Georgia’s elections,” he added.
Multiple Georgia counties struggled with the 2020 election, with many irregularities taking place. An investigator tapped by Raffensperger identified “massive” issues, and activists have presented evidence of fraud, but Raffensperger maintains the election largely ran smoothly.
Raffensperger’s office said in early January it was probing allegations of ballot harvesting.
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.