Georgia has just had the dubious (at best) distinction of hosting the most expensive U.S. House race in the nation’s history. Now a watchdog group from more than halfway across the country is challenging the results; Georgia’s chief election official defends the political integrity of the state’s electoral process by politicking about it; and the only people involved who come off not looking silly are victorious Republican candidate Karen Handel and defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff.
Handel, of course, won the special election for the 6th Congressional District seat vacated by now Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. She outpolled Ossoff by a roughly 52-48 margin in an election that by all reasonable indicators was on the up-and-up.
The Colorado-based Coalition for Good Governance and six Georgia voters (that’s right — six) filed a lawsuit calling for the results to be thrown out and a new election ordered. (And if there’s anything that would be in the greater public interest, it would surely be to spend more taxpayer, special interest and lobbyist money on this one congressional seat.)
The plaintiffs’ argument is based on security problems revealed with Georgia’s touchscreen voting machines, after a cybersecurity researcher found that an election mainframe system based at Kennesaw State University had left voter records unsecured, and that the problem was not corrected for at least seven months.
All of which should definitely be addressed; and none of which, as far as anybody has yet shown, had anything to do with the outcome of the Handel-Ossoff election.
Which, on top of the fact that a judge already threw out one lawsuit based on the security issue back in June, should be reasonably convincing.
Enter Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, one of the defendants in the suit, who according to Associated Press did not respond to a request for comment. Kemp did, however, publish a column in USA Today in which he accused the news media of “false narratives about Russian hacking and potential vulnerabilities in the system,” and of course (surely you saw this one coming) “fake news.”
Wrong on both counts. The “false narratives” consist of classified National Security Agency reports, attributed to Russian intelligence, concerning phishing attacks on local and state American elections. And there’s nothing “fake” about the revelation that a security breach left some 6.7 million (and perhaps more) Georgia voter records exposed for months.
Instead of simply standing by the results of an election that Georgians have overwhelmingly accepted as over and decided, Kemp instead shilled for a tired, and daily more embarrassing, political party line utterly irrelevant to the issue at hand.
Meanwhile, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the lawsuit “isn’t alleging the election system has been hacked,” but “… the state’s voting equipment and computers have been at risk of intrusion for so long that election officials must assume they’ve been compromised.”
So … just how many years of Georgia elections should be thrown out?