A Kennesaw State-housed computer server at the center of a lawsuit over the state’s election systems was wiped clean just days after the suit was filed, according to the Associated Press.
The server, which functioned as a central storing house for Georgia’s election data, was erased by technicians at KSU’s Center for Election Systems on July 7. The election advocates who brought the suit said the data could have revealed whether the state’s elections were hacked.
According to the AP, an independent review of the server’s security would have been central to the plaintiffs’ argument against the reliability of the state’s voting system, which they believe to be insecure and outdated.
The server was the focal point of an FBI investigation launched in March over a data breach that was left open for six months after Election Center officials became aware of it.
The breach, initially discovered by independent cybersecurity researcher Logan Lamb, left an extensive database of voting files exposed and available for download on the public CES website.
The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office has said that it did not call for the data to be destroyed and that the wipe was done without its knowledge. It attributed the decision “the undeniable ineptitude” at the Center for Election Systems.
University officials said the wipe was “standard procedure,” and that it was done only after the FBI had completed its investigation.
“Following the notification from the FBI that no data was compromised and the investigation was closed, the server was returned to the University’s Information Technology Services group and securely stored,” the university said in a statement.
The university said it turned over copies of the data to the FBI before the wipe was completed. The Georgia Attorney General’s office has filed a subpoena in federal court to obtain the copies.
According to WABE, Georgia’s minority leader in the state House of Representatives, Bob Trammell, is calling for an independent investigation. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is already conducting an internal investigation.
The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office signed a terminal contract in June that will move the state’s voting system out of KSU’s jurisdiction.