Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s General Counsel Ryan Germany confirmed during the Georgia State Senate hearing that the state’s voting machines received a system update before the election. Germany shared that the updates had occurred weeks prior to Election Day.
Vice Chairman Senator Marty Harbin (R-GA-Tyrone) asked Germany whether Dominion’s voting machines were updated.
He said, “Number one question I need to ask is that I understand that in one of the precincts that represents my district that on the day before the election there were updates being done to the machines because of the senate race with 24 candidates, the machine was having problems in printing that – is that a true statement?”
At first, Germany responded that there hadn’t been updates. The senator pressed for further clarification.
“I understand there were people coming in with USB drives to update machines the day before the election.”
At that point, Germany admitted that they’d updated the machines prior to the election.
“We did update the machines to handle how that senate race appeared,” Germany said. “It was based on something that was found when counties did logic and accuracy testing. So in Georgia we have a really robust logic and accuracy testing to make sure before the election the machines work like they’re supposed to. They found something that was – Dominion says – was kind of a ‘one in a million’ thing that they found it so our election directors, the fact that they found it is just to their credit.”
However, Germany asserted that the updates didn’t take place the night before the election. He explained that they took place at some unspecified point in the weeks preceding the election.
“We put in a fix for that to make sure that it didn’t happen,” he said. “It was not the day before the election it was a couple weeks, at least – or maybe – I can get you the exact date. But no, nothing would’ve been changed the night before the election.”
Prior to the hearing, Dominion denied that any “unauthorized” or “last-minute” updates to their systems occurred.
Software updates to electronic voting systems require re-certification prior to use – however, the decision to do so lies with the secretary of state.
“Any modification to the hardware, firmware, or software of a voting system which has completed Qualification, Certification, or Acceptance testing in accordance with these Rules shall invalidate the State certification unless it can be shown that the modification does not affect the overall flow of program control or the manner in which the ballots are recorded and the vote data are processed, and the modification falls into one of the following classifications listed below,” the company said. “The Secretary of State shall be the sole judge of whether or not a modification requires additional testing.”
Classifications of exempt modifications to machines include “correcting a defect” or enabling interaction with other equipment or databases, with documentation provided to verify that the update only impacted the defect or interactions.
It is likely that the updates in question were those that were found to be problematic in court. The judge’s issued order and opinion noted the significant, real concerns raised by evidence brought before the court.
Issues included the debunked testimonies of Pro V&V Laboratory Director Jack Cobb and Dominion Director of Product Strategy and Security Dr. Eric Coomer. Raffensperger has used Pro V&V to certify Dominion systems since last year, and relied on them to conduct the post-election audit of the Dominion machines.
Cobb admitted in his testimonies that he hadn’t done any of the security testing referenced in his affidavits.
“[A]t the injunction hearing, Mr. Cobb conceded that he accepted such representations [from Dominion’s own documentation] on face value rather than on any testing that he had actually done,” wrote the judge. “Mr. Cobb’s first affidavit discloses that Pro V&V did not itself conduct any form of penetration or security testing of the [Dominion software] specifically to be used in Georgia (certified by Dominion in August 2019) but relied on another company’s security testing of earlier versions of the Dominion Democracy Suite software.”
The judge added that the court discovered through evidence that malware could defeat or disable hash values. Germany attested that hash values confirmed the vote results during Pro V&V’s audit of the machines.
However, the judge determined that the relief sought by the plaintiffs – to conduct the election with hand-marked paper ballots only – would require too much of the Secretary of State’s office with less than a month before the election.
– – –
Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Ballot Machine” by Lance Fisher CC BY-SA 2.0.
Editor’s note: Eric Coomer filed a defamation lawsuit in December 2020 against several defendants, including Sidney Powell, in which his attorneys stated that any allegations claiming that he, a Dominion Voting Systems employee, made statements that “Trump is not going to win,” are false and defamatory.