On Sunday, Georgia Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp announced he has opened an investigation into what he claimed was a “failed attempt to hack the state’s voter registration system” by the Democratic party. Kemp provided no evidence to support his claim, nor did he specify exactly what crime was committed.
Kemp’s Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams first heard about the allegations during an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union.
“My reaction would be this is a desperate attempt on the part of my opponent to distract people from the fact that two different federal judges found him derelict in his duties,” Abrams said. “He is desperate to turn the conversation away from his failures, from his refusal to honor his commitments and from the fact that he’s part of a nationwide system of voter suppression that will not work in this election because we’re going to outwork him, we’re going to out-vote him and we’re going to win.”
Stacey Abrams on the Kemp investigation: "This is a desperate attempt on the part of my opponent to distract people." (via CNN) pic.twitter.com/eyG03ZP2tt
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 4, 2018
Abrams was referring to recent judgments striking down Kemp’s blatant attempts to disenfranchise voters in the state who are likely to support his opponent. Most recently, on Friday, a judge granted an emergency injunction to allow more than 3,000 newly-naturalized citizens, who were flagged in government computers as non-citizens, to vote with a regular ballot.
“While we cannot comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, I can confirm that the Democratic Party of Georgia is under investigation for possible cyber crimes,” Kemp’s press secretary, Candice Broce, said in a statement. “We can also confirm that no personal data was breached and our system remains secure.”
Rebecca DeHart, executive director of the Georgia Democratic Party, characterized the investigation as “yet another example of abuse of power by an unethical Secretary of State.”
“To be very clear, Brian Kemp’s scurrilous claims are 100 percent false, and this so-called investigation was unknown to the Democratic Party of Georgia until a campaign operative in Kemp’s official office released a statement this morning,” DeHart said in a statement. “This political stunt from Kemp just days before the election is yet another example of why he cannot be trusted and should not be overseeing an election in which he is also a candidate for governor.”
In a separate statement, DeHart added: “Brian Kemp has a long and well documented history of failing to protect the security of Georgia’s elections system… Georgians of all political stripes are very concerned about election security and the security of Georgians’ personal information. The Democratic Party of Georgia shares that concern, but we did not create, discover, or attempt to take advantage of the deeply vulnerable system used by the Secretary of State’s office.”
The Georgia governor’s race has been among the most-watched in the country. An Abrams victory would make her the first female African American governor in United States history. Recent polls show the two candidates are neck-and-neck, and the election could go to a runoff if neither candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote.