Voting hand

Georgia election breach: What we know


A cast of notable characters with ties to a criminal investigation into a voting system breach in rural south Georgia have long been bent on proving that the electronic voting machines used in several states were being rigged to steal elections from supporters of Donald Trump.

Security video released this week confirms a couple of Coffee County election officials and a local Republican party leader were on hand the same day as computer experts, Trump supporters and an Atlanta bail bondsman visited the election office in Douglas to copy sensitive election files in an effort to discredit President Joe Biden’s narrow victory in Georgia in 2020. 

Coffee County released the video via subpoena in late August, six months after the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s electronic voting system filed Open Records Requests in an attempt to get the footage. 

Footage from Jan 7, 2021, shows Coffee County GOP Chairwoman Cathy Latham welcoming into the elections office a computer expert with Atlanta-based forensic data firm SullivanStrickler, a company that’s acknowledged it followed the directions of former Trump attorney Sidney Powell and other lawyers who asked for their help in copying election files in battleground states of Georgia, Nevada and Michigan.

Latham can be seen outside Coffee County’s voting office with Scott Hall, an Atlanta bail bondsman, as well as SullivanStrickler COO Paul Maggio, who both referred to Latham as a point of contact to obtain access to Coffee County’s voting server, voter sign-in equipment, memory cards and election records.

Latham has denied helping anyone gain unauthorized access to Dominion Voting Systems equipment and confidential election records, despite contradictory text messages, testimony and other evidence gathered as part of a federal court case. 

Furthermore, the video reveals that Doug Logan, the founder of Cyber Ninjas, visited the elections office in January. His firm is implicated in shoddy 2020 presidential audits in Arizona and is also connected to another investigation into an attempted breach in Michigan.

Also visiting multiple times in January was cyber security consultant Jeff Lenberg, whose attorney, Matthew DePerno, is running for Michigan attorney general and both are targets of an investigation into Atrim County Dominion breaches. 

 A new election director reported to the secretary of state’s office in spring of 2021 that he found Logan’s business card near the computer of former director Misty Hampton.

The day of the breach, Coffee County election board member Eric Chaney and Hampton were also at the election office.

Meanwhile, the surveillance recording ends in mid-February, a week before My Pillow founder and infamous election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell flew into Coffee County. Lindell’s plane arrived on Feb. 25, about the same time Hampton resigned over allegations she falsified time sheets.

As Trump fought to overturn the 2020 election results in swing states where he surprisingly lost to Biden, Lindell became one of the former president’s most vocal supporters, claiming he spent tens of millions of dollars from his fortune on unsuccessful lawsuits across the country. 

Even after the voting machine manufacturer filed a defamation lawsuit against him, Powell and other television networks and others, Lindell continued his baseless charge that Dominion Voting Systems rigged the Georgia GOP primary in May to defeat Trump-allied candidates.

And following the 2020 election, Powell entered the national spotlight alleging widespread fraud across multiple states. During a Georgia legislative committee hearing held in December 2020, Powell led an attorney and witness group that included Latham to spin claims of fraud and other election irregularities.

Atlanta election attorney Bryan Sells said he wasn’t aware of another case of this magnitude, noting that this one involves the relatively new technology of electronic voting machines.

While the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the secrecy of the state’s investigation, Sells said it is possible that the Department of Justice could also open its own investigation if it appears to involve a coordinated, multi-state attempt to disrupt the election process.

University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock said some of the theories floating around now aren’t different from those in the early part of this century, only then it was on a much smaller scale.

During the early 2000s, there were some people who believed that electronic voting machines were being reprogrammed to change votes to assist the Republicans. Dominion’s machines first rolled out statewide in Georgia in 2020.

Most recent election fraud cases have involved much more low-tech methods, such as filling in another person’s hand-written absentee ballots.

“It looks like (the Coffee County breach) was opportunistic in the sense that they said I know somebody down there who might give us access to the machines, rather than going to say, Fulton or DeKalb and saying we’re going here because we think that somehow, someone illicitly ran up the votes for Joe Biden,” Bullock said.

In December 2020, Hampton became the target of Georgia secretary of state’s office’s investigation into Coffee County after posting a YouTube video in 2020 claiming that the Dominion system was easily hackable, with a visible sticky note revealing the machine’s password. Hampton and some local election board members were also accused of discrediting voting machines after a recount failed to accurately confirm the results from Election Day.

Latham is under investigation by a Fulton County special grand jury for her role in casting a false elector ballot for Trump following the 2020 election. The Coffee County breach has now been included in that investigation into potential election interference on Trump’s behalf.

Georgia Recorder is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity.

Stay Informed

Stay in the loop about this story and others like it by signing up for our free email newsletter.

Please wait...

Thank you for signing up.

Get More Context: With the barrage of information coming through your social media feeds and phone notifications, it can be hard to get a clear picture of what’s happening in your community and throughout the state. Click here to see what else is happening in The Peach State and get your news in context instead of relying on social media feeds and notifications for your news. We’ll help you stay informed.

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning we could earn a commission if you make a purchase through these links.

Events Calendar

Georgia Newswire