COFFEE COUNTY, Ga. — Activists are asking the US Justice Department to investigate a security breach in a south Georgia election office. They want to know if it was connected to former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
The story about the breach in Coffee County gained traction when surveillance video became public that appeared to show Coffee County officials opening the door of the county election office – and letting folks associated with the Trump campaign have access to election computers and software.
Cybersecurity experts said such a breach exposes Georgia’s computer-driven election system to possible hacking – though no such evidence of hacking surfaced in this fall’s election and runoff.
"What's concerning is it’s taken so long for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to get involved," Susan Greenhalgh said, a senior election advisor for Free Speech for People. "We’ve seen the Secretary of State downplay and dismiss these events for a long time."
The letter was signed by cybersecurity scientists from universities across the country, including Dr. Richard DeMillo, founder of Georgia Tech's College of Cybersecurity.
The letter says the Coffee County breach was part of a “multi state plan directed and funded by attorneys for Donald Trump – including Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and Jesse Binnall – to access voting systems and obtain and distribute copies of voting system software unlawfully, which could ... be relevant to investigations into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.”
That could put Coffee County in the crosshairs of the special counsel investigating potential criminal charges relating to the January 6th capitol riot.
"There was an expectation they might be able to use information in the software in the data taken from Coffee County to overturn the 2020 election," Greenhalgh said. "So that makes it a multistate plot which could have federal consequences."
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office sent a statement that didn’t address the request for a federal investigation. It said in part: All of the actual evidence, from logic and accuracy, testing to post-election risk-limiting audits to voter-verifiable paper ballots, shows that Georgia election results accurately reflect the will of the people of Georgia, and it’s nothing but conspiracy theories and election denialism that says otherwise.”