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No paper trail: Georgia’s antiquated voting system prevents an audit for hacks

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The polls are closing in Georgia following the most expensive congressional election in American history. As results are announced, there’s significant controversy over the credibility of those results.

“Georgia’s voting issues aren’t rooted in any specific hacking threat,” reports Wired. “The problem instead lies in the state’s inability to prove if fraud or tampering happened in the first place.”

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The state of Georgia has 27,000 voting machines from the now-defunct Premier Election Systems (formerly known as Diebold) and 6,000 ExpressPoll machines — also made by Diebold. None of the machines have a paper trail.

“You have an un-provable system,” says Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting told Wired. “It might be right, it might not be right, and that absence of authoritative confirmation is the biggest problem. It’s corrosive.”

The lack of a paper-trail to verify results isn’t the only problem with Georgia’s election system.

“Our machines haven’t been updated since 2005, they’re running on Windows 2000,” the policy director at Common Cause Georgia, Sara Henderson, told Wired. “It’s ridiculous.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) declined a 2016 offer from the Department of Homeland Security to help the state safeguard their election systems.

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Last week, ABC News reported that Secretary of State Kemp, “contested a lawsuit demanding the state abandon its antiquated touchscreen voting machines , which are highly susceptible to being rigged by hackers in all-but-undetectable ways, and whose votes couldn’t be reliably recounted.”

If NSA reports are to be believed, it is not only possible but probable that Georgia’s election systems have been compromised.

Georgia does allow recounts, but only in precincts where paper ballots have been used. The vast majority of precincts in Georgia do not use paper ballots, making recounts impossible.

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In precincts where voting machines are used, there is no ability for a recount, only a recanvass.

“In precincts where voting machines have been used, whenever it appears that there is a discrepancy in the returns recorded for any voting machine or machines or that an error, although not apparent on the face of the returns, exists, the superintendent shall, either of his or her own motion or upon the sworn petition of three electors of any precinct, order a recanvass of the votes shown on that particular machine or machines,” the law reads.

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“There’s no way to independently verify individual votes,” Nse Ufot, director of the New Georgia Project, told ThinkProgress. “There have been open letters written by computer science professors and political science professors from universities all across the country to Georgia’s secretary of state. The secretary of state’s response has been that this is a state issue, so we’re going to dismiss them. People are really concerned.”

Polls have closed in the special election to replace former Congressman Tom Price, who vacated the seat after being confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel have both attracted national attention and support.


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Trump smears former Ukrainian ambassador as she delivers devastating testimony against him

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President Donald Trump on Friday lashed out at former United States ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she delivered devastating testimony about corruption within his administration.

"Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad," the president wrote. "She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him."

The president then asserted that he had the absolute right to fire any ambassador he wanted, before bragging about doing more to help Ukraine than former President Barack Obama ever did.

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‘Shame on her!’ Conservatives howl in rage after Marie Yovanovitch invokes diplomats killed at Benghazi

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Former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch invoked the names of diplomats killed during a raid at Benghazi -- and online conservatives were furious.

The former ambassador testified in the second public hearing of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, and she invoked the memory of her slain colleagues to describe the sacrifices made by officials in the State Department.

"We honor these individuals," Yovanovitch testified. "They represent each one of you here and every American. These courageous individuals were attacked because they symbolized America. What you need to know, what Americans need to know, is that while thankfully most of us answer the call to duty in far less dramatic ways, every foreign service officer runs the same risks, and very often so do our families."

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GOP lawmakers will turn on Trump the moment the public leans a few more points towards impeachment: conservative

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According to Bulwark columnist Philip Rotner, GOP lawmakers for the moment are parroting Donald Trump's insistence that he is innocent of any wrongdoing with regard to withholding aid to Ukraine's president unless he was given political dirt on his political opponent, but that could quickly come to an end if certain key witnesses are allowed to testify.

As the conservative columnist noted, he previously said that the president would base his defense on the simple phrase "I didn't do it," and -- now that the impeachment hearings have started -- it appears the GOP is running with the president's spin.

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