On Sunday morning, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp unleashed a stunning allegation: State Democrats had committed “possible cyber crimes” after a tipster told party officials he had found gaping security holes in the state’s voter information website. The affair quickly degenerated into volleying charges about whether Democrats had promptly informed officials of the possible security breach.
A representative for Kemp, the state’s Republican candidate for governor, denied vulnerabilities existed in the state’s voter-lookup site and said the problems alleged could not be reproduced. But in the evening hours of Sunday, as the political storm raged, ProPublica found state officials quietly rewriting the website’s computer code.
ProPublica’s review of the state’s voter system followed a detailed recipe created by the tipster, who was described as having IT experience and alerted Democrats to the possible security problems. Using the name of a valid Georgia voter who gave ProPublica permission to access his voter file, reporters attempted to trace the security lapses that were identified.