Georgia Secretary of State’s office has launched and an investigation into Fulton County’s elections process after two Express Poll Books were stolen the night before a local election.
Secretary Brad Raffensperger said the incident may be a result of an unsecured voting location.
“Security should be everyone’s top priority,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “It is unacceptable that bad-actors entered a polling location under the cover of night and were able to steal critical elections machinery.”
The theft of the equipment, that is used to check in voters at polling locations, happened ahead of a school board election in Atlanta scheduled for Tuesday.
The election office was able to replace the poll books in time for the election to go on as scheduled.
The data computers contained voter registration information such as names, dates of birth, addresses and driver’s license numbers of voters, Raffensperger said.
The incident also comes on the heels of a court’s ruling to replace the state’s outdated voting system.
A judge in August ordered the state to replace its automated voting system, used since 2002, with a paper ballot system by 2020. Raffensperger’s office certified the new Dominion ImageCastX Voting System ahead of the ruling. The system should be set in place for the primary elections in March.
“This is a prime example of why Georgia is replacing these outdated systems,” said Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs in a statement.
Critics of the new voting system say it is just as insecure as the previous one. A lawsuit and a petition were filed opposing its selection.
The data breach could affect Georgia’s 7 million voters.
Jeanne Dufort, a Georgia resident and a plaintiff in the opposing lawsuits, said the office should be more concerned about the theft of data than the outdated devices at this time.