From Daily Report/Law.com:
A new filing claims the Georgia secretary of state's office destroyed servers that housed confidential voter registration and election system management data "under the supervision of, if not by, government lawyers."
A group of Georgia voters [including Constitution Party of Georgia chairman Ricardo Davis] and a nonprofit election integrity organization seeking to force the state to use paper rather than electronic ballots in future elections have accused the secretary of state and governor of destroying evidence in the case.
A group of Georgia voters and a nonprofit election integrity organization seeking to force the state to use paper rather than electronic ballots in future elections have accused the secretary of state and governor of destroying evidence in the case.
The spoliation claim accuses the office of Secretary of State Brian Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, who was the secretary of state prior to his election as governor, of destroying computer servers from Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Services, according to a brief filed Thursday. The brief was filed by attorneys representing the Coalition for Good Government and several Georgia voters.
Coalition lawyers allege in the brief that evidence was willfully destroyed despite numerous requests, notifications and discussions emphasizing the need for preservation.
The brief also claims that state officials and government lawyers failed to preserve memory cards used to program the state’s individual electronic voting machines or make forensic images of them before reusing them. It also claims that the secretary of state’s office under both Raffensperger and Kemp failed to preserve electronic data contained in the internal memories of the electronic voting machines before redeploying them.
The brief was signed by Atlanta attorneys Cary Ichter (right) of Ichter Davis; Bruce Brown (left) of Bruce P. Brown Law and Ezra Rosenberg and John Powers of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C.
“Defendants have willfully destroyed critical evidence in this case,” coalition counsel alleged. “The secretary of state’s office, while the secretary of state [Kemp] was seeking the governor’s office, retrieved the servers from the FBI and promptly and brazenly destroyed it, placing it beyond the reach of plaintiffs, the court, and the people.”
“What’s worse is that it appears that all of this was done under the supervision of, if not by, government lawyers, who are held to a higher standard than private lawyers,” the pleading said.
“The evidence strongly suggests that the state’s amateurish protection of critical election infrastructure placed Georgia’s election system at risk, and the state defendants now appear to be desperate to cover-up the effects of their misfeasance—to the point of destroying evidence,” the brief alleged.
“Such conduct would be incomprehensible absent one simple explanation: the state wished to eliminate evidence of exactly the kind of election manipulation plaintiffs have alleged,” the brief contends. “And the spoliation has since continued, with the state deleting and overwriting data previously preserved in the [electronic voting machine] memories and on memory cards used in relevant elections.”
Attorneys representing Raffensperger and Kemp were in court and not immediately available for comment. Judge Amy Totenberg of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia is presiding over a two-day hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction sought by the plaintiffs that would replace the state’s current obsolete electronic voting machines with paper ballots in all upcoming elections.
Raffensperger spokeswoman Tess Hammock denied the allegations in the new filing.
“Any accusation that the secretary of state’s office has not complied with this court’s preservation order is completely false, and we look forward to vigorously defending ourselves from these spurious allegations meant to distract the court from the fact that there is no evidence that supports the plaintiffs outlandish theories,” Hammock said.
Kemp spokeswoman Candice Broce could not immediately be reached.