Georgia's entire voter file potentially compromised after machine thefts

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — The personal information for every Georgia voter could be compromised.

Police said thieves stole two express poll machines, set up for a special school board election.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant first broke this story on Twitter.

Police dusted for prints at the Grove Park Recreation Center Tuesday morning.

Sometime overnight, police said a burglar stole two machines used to check in voters. These are not the machines people voted on, but are used to check in voters.

The Fulton County Elections Director said they were locked up in a suitcase like this one inside the center. Poll workers noticed the case was gone this morning when they got in to open the polls.

“This is a really unfortunate event,” said Fulton County Elections Director Rick Barron.


Diamant said this is a huge deal, because the elections director said the machines contained the entire state of Georgia voter file, which includes names, addresses and birthdates for all Georgia voters -- all now potentially compromised.

“It’s a statewide voter file that’s on there. It has name, address, and date of birth of all the voters in the state of Georgia,” Barron said.

While Barron told Channel 2 Action News the data is password protected, for Georgia State University cybersecurity researcher Don Hunt, it's not 100 percent secure.

“Depending on the type of shell that they use and the type of software they’re using, that’s typically not that hard to break for someone who really knows what they’re doing,” Hunt said.

Meantime, Diamant ran all this past Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the state’s top elections official.

“I’ll just say no one’s happy about it,” Raffensperger said. “I think it’s a black eye on anyone’s who’s involved with elections, but also it’s a wakeup call that that if it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.”

And while Atlanta police works to identify the burglars and track down the missing machines,​​​Raffensperger has a message to all local elections leaders.

“You need to do whatever you can do to secure your equipment,” Raffensperger said.

The state will soon roll out a new, $100 million voting system which Raffensperger said will have a new iPad-based check-in system, which they can track and delete data remotely if they get stolen.

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