Several weeks after the 2020 election, newly obtained recordings show associates of former President Donald J. Trump and contractors who were working on his behalf touching critical polling equipment in a rural Georgia county.
The footage was made public as part of the ongoing litigation over Georgia’s voting system. One such event took occurred on January 7, 2018, the day after supporters of Mr. Trump stormed the Capitol, when a small crew headed to rural Coffee County, Georgia. The day before, on January 6, 2018, supporters of Mr. Trump attacked the Capitol.
Members of the business SullivanStrickler, which is located in Atlanta and was recruited by Sidney Powell, a lawyer who advises Mr. Trump and is also a conspiracy believer, were a part of the group. Mr. Powell is a conspiracy theorist.
The most recent films show members of the team working inside an office while holding poll pads belonging to the county, which include sensitive information on voters. During a court hearing on September 9, David D. Cross, a lawyer for a nonprofit organisation that is suing over perceived security vulnerabilities in Georgia’s voting system — and that released the new videos after obtaining them in the course of its litigation — told a judge that his organisation had a suspicion that the “personally identifiable information” of approximately seven million Georgia voters may have been copied. The lawsuit was filed over the perceived security vulnerabilities in Georgia’s voting system.
The elections supervisor for Heard County, Georgia, Charles Tonnie Adams, said in an email that “poll pads have every registered voter on the state list.” It was not immediately obvious what precise personal information about voters was included on the poll pads, nor was it immediately evident what, if anything, was done with the data after it was collected.
A poll pad “does hold voter information but it is not accessible because it is encrypted behind security standards,” said to Mike Hassinger, a spokesperson for Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state. He further said that at the time, there were no spaces for Social Security numbers or driver’s licence numbers on the polling pads.
The newly released videos demonstrate, among other things, that certain Trump allies who travelled to Coffee County were granted access to a storage room, and that numerous individuals connected with Mr. Trump’s campaign or his supporters were able to enter the building on multiple occasions over the course of several days.
The newly released tape also shows Cathy Latham, who was serving as the leader of the county’s Republican Party at the time, along with members of the Trump campaign team standing together in an office where the poll pads for the county were arranged on a table. In connection with her role as a member of an alternative slate of electors who attempted to reverse Mr. Trump’s defeat in Georgia, Ms. Latham is one of the subjects of a criminal investigation that is now taking place in Atlanta. This inquiry, which is being directed by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, has also made some inquiries into the events that took place in Coffee County.
On Monday, Robert D. Cheeley, who is Ms. Latham’s attorney, denied the opportunity to comment on the record. In this month’s interview with CNN, he said that his client “would not and has not knowingly been engaged in any misconduct in any election.”
The new films also include investigators working for Mr. Raffensperger’s office, which raises issues about the information that they had access to. Voting rights advocates who are involved in the litigation have questioned why Mr. Raffensperger, who is the defendant in the civil case, did not move more aggressively. Mr. Raffensperger’s office is investigating what took place in Coffee County, which is located approximately 200 miles southeast of Atlanta. This investigation is being conducted in conjunction with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Rachel Ann Roberts, the current election supervisor for Coffee County, was contacted by phone on Monday and said that she was unable to comment on the topic of the poll pads since she had begun working in the role after the visit had already taken place.
Georgia is not even close to being the only state in which such behaviour took place. In the state of Michigan, a special prosecutor is looking into whether or if Trump associates, such as Matthew DePerno, who is running for attorney general on the Republican ticket, attempted to acquire access to voting equipment. And in Colorado, the office of the secretary of state estimated that taxpayers faced a bill of at least one million dollars to replace voting equipment in Mesa County. This came after a pro-Trump elections supervisor was indicted on charges that she tampered with the county’s voting equipment after the 2020 election. The secretary of state’s office estimated that the cost of replacing the voting equipment would fall on the taxpayers.