Georgia's Brian Kemp Decides To Dox Absentee Voters, Revealing Why They All Voted Absentee

from the voting-irregularities dept

Kind of a key part of the American election setup is the concept of a secret ballot for hopefully obvious reasons. We haven’t gone quite so far as eliminating that, but down in Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp (who was running for governor at the same time as he was overseeing the integrity of the election and also putting in place a bunch of attempts at voter suppression) has doxxed hundreds of thousands (291,164 to be exact) of absentee voters by posting an Excel file on the state’s website listing out the names, addresses and reasons why they voted absentee.

In typical spokesperson Candice Broce fashion (see her previous nonsensical quotes defending her boss), Broce/Kemp denied that there’s anything wrong with this at all. The systems, they are all working perfectly:

When reached, Georgia secretary of state?s press secretary Candice Broce told TechCrunch that all of the data ?is clearly designated as public information under state law,? and denied that the data was ?confidential or sensitive.?

?State law requires the public availability of voter lists, including names and address of registered voters,? she said in an email.

While it is true that voter name and address info is required to be made available, it is usually not made available in aggregate for anyone to just download without restrictions. And, it’s especially concerning that they released the reasons for voting absentee just a day or so after the election — as people pointed out that this could be quite useful info for criminals looking for who might be away from their homes.

More concerning, of course, is the idea that this could scare off future voters as well who don’t want such info being released in such a manner.

Either way, the idea that the Secretary of State, who kept insisting how wonderful his electronic voting systems were, would then release a giant Excel spreadsheet should again raise questions about the technological skills of whoever set up the system, let alone Kemp for overseeing such a system.

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Comments on “Georgia's Brian Kemp Decides To Dox Absentee Voters, Revealing Why They All Voted Absentee”

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64 Comments
bob says:

Re: the turd just happens to be a Republican this time.

Yes. Being a person in charge of running the election I would expect better regardless of party affiliation.

However given his history I expected nothing good to come from him. But that expectation hhas nothing to do with his political leanings.

Generalizing the party based on the few’s actions won’t be productive. Of course the other argument of it’s just a few bad apples applies too.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: tl;dr

Generalizing the party based on the few’s actions won’t be productive.

I like to evaluate each candidate individually.

But given the current policies at the top of the Republican Party — bigotry, environmental devastation, trickle-down economics, and dismantling the social safety net, to name a few — any candidate still willing to identify themselves as a Republican gets some immediate skepticism from me at this point.

I’ve voted Republican in the past. I may vote Republican in the future. But it won’t be for any Republican who accepts the endorsement of Donald Trump.

Hub says:

Re: RepublicansDemocrats

… Kemp is a piker compared to the Democrat machine politics in Florida’s Broward & Palm Beach Counties — the criminality in the official election bureaucracy is breathtaking down there (almost ranks with Chicago, New Orleans and NY/NJ).
*people who vote decide nothing — people who count the vote decide everything

names/addresses/party-affiliation of registered voters are public information (often online) most everywhere in U.S.
More personal information is public depending on what you chose to include on your voter-registration form (phone#/email/etc)

Political Parties & Official Candidates often can easily get your voting record history from the local government Board of Elections — when, where you voted before and method of voting. Parties/Candidates know exactly who has not yet submitted their mail-in ballots — and then aggressively bug those citizens to vote (for them) before the deadline.
Plus, this voter metadata is extremely useful to Parties.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Alternate article:

“Newly elected Georgia Governor finally defeated his opponent in a hard-fought runoff earned 100% of the votes in every district. Facing allegations of voter suppression, and a complete failure of machines to register any Democrat votes, Kemp steps up and ‘Does the right thing’ by blaming all technological failures on his opponent.”

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Of course, a truly CLEVER corrupt politician would arrange for that 100% of the vote to go to his most dangerous opponent in the race. No amount of claims of innocence would save that guy’s political career.

And since the election was obviously rigged, there would be a new election held, in which all the fence sitters would be angry about the election tampering…

That One Guy (profile) says:

Seriously, it's not a contest

Shooting the messenger for trying to inform him of a serious security flaw and trying to blame them for a hack that didn’t happen, blatantly ignoring the massive conflict of interest in being involved in the same election he’s running in, and now outing a bunch of people’s information for what I can only assume are childishly petty reasons.

It’s as though he’s doing everything possible to demonstrate how much he should be kept away from any position of power and/or authority.

Anonymous Coward says:

Similar thing in Ottawa recently

As was pointed out in Ottawa’s recent election:

First — and this is something not widely known — candidates have access to voters’ lists in the ward in which they’re running, and for mayoral candidates, everyone in the city. … Candidates about whom we know almost nothing…. have access to all voters’ names and addresses, which some people go to great lengths to try to keep private.

James T. Sheahan, for example, registered to run for mayor. He was not heard from in any way during the campaign.

Who is he? No idea. Does he know where you live? Maybe.

"Restrictions" (click-through agreements, background checks, etc.) on data like this are largely meaningless. It simply shouldn’t be available at all, especially without telling people when they register to vote. Land ownership records are a similar situation. People mostly don’t know anyone can grab that data (the people who do know, sometimes use shell companies to stay off those lists; can’t really do that for voting, but one might avoid voting if that’s the only option for privacy).

As usual, it’s political corruption. They know they’ll need data when next campaigning, and they set the rules about what’s public, so…

Anonymous Coward says:

and reasons why they voted absentee.

If it was me, I’d just be more creative with my reason.

For example:

  • Polling place is a veritable shithole, staffed by marginally retarded simpletons
  • Previous long lines because some dumb fuck overseeing the elections didn’t think of power cords
  • I just wanted this ass-backwards state to have to cough up postage to support the USPS
Christenson says:

Re: Not quite an indictment for Criminal incompetence

lol, but I expect this to result in a lawsuit against Mr Kemp shortly.

The ballot is supposed to be secret, the reason I voted early should also remain secret, and, as pointed out above, “I am travelling” is an invitation for a breakin, that is, real, actual damages.

Now, as to the voter lists..the problem is that it is either a secret, or public in bulk, there is no in-between. Actual lists of who voted should of course be secret.

Where the hell is the Civil Rights division???

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

It’s almost like he is trying to prove the point that SCOTUS ending the laws that punished them for trying to suppress votes was a really bad idea, that there are still asshole who will use their position to not serve the people but to deny them their rights so they can move up the ladder of government at the expense of the people.

TruthHurts (profile) says:

Before or after he'd resigned his position?

If he did it after resigning, then he no longer had legal access to that data, which means each identity released is a charge of identity theft and illegal access to a computer system.

How many thousands of “federal” charges can he withstand before being sent to prison, where he cannot assume the role he thinks he won?

John Smith says:

Doxing would never happen without Section 230, because the intermediaries would be liable for the invasion of privacy or incitement or whatever.

Those who support Section 230 should not be concerned with any consequences of the above-mentioned “doxing” of voters, as voting records are public info and thus subject to the FOIA and other sunshine laws (absent any explicit legal authority to the contrary).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Doxing would never happen without Section 230”
– In general or only in this case?

“the intermediaries would be liable for the invasion of privacy or incitement or whatever.
– Only if the DA wanted to go after them, selective enforcement of the law is a well established unwritten policy but let’s pretend it does not exist.

I wonder if any other instances of “DOX” revealed public information about some folks who then got real upset about it, complained to someone and resulted in others getting in trouble – it is public information , right?

Anonymous Coward says:

So Kemp’s crime is what?

Putting public information into an Excel spreadsheet? This is now something that is wrong?

Techdirt has so many articles about how hard it is for government to make public records available. Just read any article about Muckrock and his attempt to get FOIA records. Now they are complaining about government making records easily accessible.

If you are going to advocate for open government, at least be consistent.

Banana Republic here we come says:

Re: So Kemp’s crime is what?

“Putting public information into an Excel spreadsheet”

Are you daft?
Have you read up on the issues impacting the election in GA?

Disenfranchisement is a really cool way to get what you want regardless of what everyone else wants – amirite?

Daylight come and me wan’ go home

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: As the acronym goes, RTFA

While it is true that voter name and address info is required to be made available, it is usually not made available in aggregate for anyone to just download without restrictions. And, it’s especially concerning that they released the reasons for voting absentee just a day or so after the election — as people pointed out that this could be quite useful info for criminals looking for who might be away from their homes.

More concerning, of course, is the idea that this could scare off future voters as well who don’t want such info being released in such a manner.

I’m curious, given his actions recently as covered by TD do you honestly think he did this for good reasons, and what reason(s) can you think of to do so?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: As the acronym goes, RTFA

I do not understand the rational for requiring an excuse for a mail in ballot. Mail in ballots work just fine in states that do not have such antiquated voting silliness. Just make them all mail in, then there is no need for those old crappy machines that some seem to not be able to properly operate and maintain. But that makes too much sense, better not do that huh. make america gross again

Professor Ronny says:

I live in Georgia and it is such a shame that Brian Kemp is making Georgia such a national laughing stock over his voter suppression and other dirty tricks. It’s clear he thinks he had no chance of being elected in a fair election.

I can only hope the FBI or GBI does something but I have strong doubts.

It does make me wonder. If he were running for reelection as Secretary of State, as I’m sure many secretaries of state do, how could any of them conduct the election openly and fairly without stepping down?

dickeyrat says:

I was born & raised in Atlanta, which I’m gratified to see was carried by Ms. Abrams. Brian Kemp is nothing but a half-witted con artist (which explains his true appeal to Trump), who should be selling used cars on an open lot down around Cusseta somewhere, or perhaps pursuing his fortune as a pig farmer. His ascension to the state throne will do nothing except prove Georgia has become a shithole, third-world banana republic masquerading as a “state”. That would be a shame, for what was one of the original thirteen-colonies states, having been first admitted into the Union in 1788. But it would make the knuckle-dragging, ass-picking MAGAhead morons happy, and Kemp would still be able to face his KKK coke-snorting buddies, after avoiding defeat by a…a…a…Black Female (“negress”), of all people!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Voting Register considered absurd

It is, by design, meant to be a disenfranchising mechanism and has been put to use quite effectively.

Even after all the silly efforts to disenfranchise, some people do not want to count all the votes … they are calling it stealing the election, after having tried to steal it themselves – LOL

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Voting Register considered absurd

Well, for starters, here’s one from Trump’s Twitter:

Just out — in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption – Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!

There’s more in yesterday’s Arizona Republic: Republican crybabies need to get a grip in McSally-Sinema race

It’s an op/ed, obviously, and the author’s POV is pretty clear in that headline. But she cites her sources.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Voting Register considered absurd

That’s almost impressive, just for all the wrong reasons.

You can practically taste the desperation on display to avoid losing that election via the heinous act of making sure that the votes are properly counted and confirmed, and that they are calling that a plot to steal the election shows just how panicked they are getting.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Voting Register considered absurd

And it’s ridiculous, because even in the increasingly likely event that Sinema wins, Republicans will still control the Senate — by at least as many votes as they do now, and probably more. (The current count stands at 44 Democrats + 2 Independents who caucus with Democrats, 51 Republicans. The Arizona race hasn’t been called, the Florida race is being recounted, and the Mississippi race is headed to a runoff. If Democrats win all three of those races, then the Senate will be 51-47-2, exactly the same as it’s been for the past two years. And, it bears repeating, that outcome requires a Democrat winning in Mississippi.)

And there’s a pretty good chance that McSally gets seated in January either way: John Kyl (who Arizona Governor Doug Ducey appointed to fill McCain’s vacant seat) is stepping down at the end of the year, and Ducey gets to appoint another senator to serve until 2020.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Voting Register considered absurd

Adding: for context, Trump’s "signatures don’t match!" rant is a garbled version of a Republican lawsuit, since settled.

Basically, people in Arizona can submit ballots by mail, or, if they don’t mail their ballot in by the deadline, they can drop them off at a polling place.

If the signature on your mail-in ballot doesn’t match the signature they have on file for you, the county will attempt to contact you to confirm that it’s really your ballot; if they’re unable to confirm, the ballot will not be counted.

The deadline for this was not consistent across Arizona. Most counties have a deadline of election day — meaning that if you submit your ballot on election day and your signature doesn’t match, you’re SOL. In three counties, however, policy was to continue verifying signatures for another 8 days after the election.

Those 3 counties are Democratic-leaning. Republicans sued. The suit was swiftly settled with every county agreeing to the same November 14 deadline. So voters with challenged signatures still have two more days to confirm their ballots and get their votes counted.

As a personal anecdote: I’m in Maricopa County (one of the three that had the longer verification deadline in the first place), and my signature was once challenged — this would have been in ’05 or ’06. There was nothing sinister at work here; I’d spent the past fall working a retail job where I spent all day filling out receipts and signing them, and over the course of several months doing that, my signature changed. After I voted, the county sent me a notice that my signature did match their records; I filled out the form, sent it in, and haven’t had any trouble since.

I’m not 100% sure since it’s been so long, but I think I probably dropped my ballot in the box on election day that year. So if Maricopa County had had an election-day deadline for verifying signatures, my ballot wouldn’t have been counted.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Voting Register considered absurd

It is disgusting how the President of the United States can not bring himself to honor those who gave their lives in WWI. How can he be considered the Commander in Chief?

and to add insult … as if the border thing was not enough
in addition – lack of VA funding causes a frigin nightmare
but that is not enough is it

President Trump effectively demands soldiers stationed abroad be excluded from voting in Florida midterms

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-pol-trump-military-votes-florida-midterms-20181112-story.html

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Voting Register considered absurd

There are many, search on counting votes is stealing the election

here’s one

Lindsey Graham says Democrats’ push to count all votes is proof they want to ‘steal’ the election
https://thinkprogress.org/lindsey-graham-says-democrats-want-to-steal-election-florida-94b450535923/

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Voting Register considered absurd

If I didn’t think it would give me a terrible headache from facepalming so hard I’d wonder how his mind works such that making sure that votes are counted accurately is ‘stealing’ anything.

If the votes are indeed in his candidate’s favor, then his candidate will rightly be confirmed as having won.

If the votes are not in his candidates favor, then they didn’t win in the first place and there’s nothing to ‘steal’.

However I suspect it’s really as simple as ‘an accurate count might cost us a (fraudulent) win, therefore it must be prevented at all costs.’

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Voting Register considered absurd

If I didn’t think it would give me a terrible headache from facepalming so hard I’d wonder how his mind works such that making sure that votes are counted accurately is ‘stealing’ anything.

If a two-year-old starts crying when he doesn’t get his way, you don’t wonder how his mind works.

This is exactly the same thing.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Voting Register considered absurd

I think the idea is:

  • The law surrounding elections prescribes a certain procedure to be followed.
  • That procedure requires that votes received outside of certain boundaries not be counted, and/or that the counting of votes be complete by a certain point in time.
  • Therefore, votes received outside of those boundaries are not valid, and/or counting votes after that point in time is illegal.
  • Therefore, any attempt to count votes which were received outside of those boundaries, and/or to count any votes at all after that point in time, is an attempt to violate the terms which define the boundaries of a legitimate election.
  • Therefore, any such attempt is an attempt to illegitimately alter the outcome of the election.
  • Therefore, any such attempt is an attempt to steal the election.

Or in other words: "The rules are the rules, and if following the rules means that some votes don’t get counted, then those votes have to not get counted, and anyone trying to count those votes is breaking the rules!" (Never mind the question of who wrote those rules, or why, or of whether rules which prohibit counting otherwise-valid votes – in the sense that they are not fraudulent, and were cast in good faith by people who are legally qualified to do so – are appropriate under a theoretically-democratic system…)

Pete Austin says:

Business as usual for bureaucracies everywhere

Someone made a mistake and accidentally posted this huge data file (containing 100% public data under local law) very quickly with no restrictions. When the problems this caused were reported, the file was immediately removed and a statement posted. At that stage what did you expect government officials to say – we made a mistake, please sue us for $billions? No, they obviously said it was all fine, nothing to see here.

Very sad to see all the insults in the comments, assuming it’s a conspiracy and heaping blame on political opponents from Trump on down.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Business as usual for bureaucracies everywhere

If this had happened in a vacuum and Brian Kemp had not spent the past month attempting to bias the election in his own favor, your comment would have merit.

It did not. He has. It does not.

If people assume malice and tampering on Kemp’s part, that’s because Kemp has given them every reason to.

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