State Watch

Kemp’s office opens investigation into Georgia Democrats for ‘possible cyber crimes’

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The office of Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the state’s Republican gubernatorial nominee, said Sunday it has opened an investigation into the state’s Democratic Party for possible unspecified cyber crimes after an attempted hack of the state’s voter registration system.

“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,” Candice Broce, press secretary for Kemp’s office, said in a statement.

“We can also confirm that no personal data was breached and our system remains secure,” she added.

{mosads}The announcement comes two days before Election Day, when Kemp faces Democrat Stacey Abrams in the governor’s race. Kemp has rebuffed calls to resign his position as secretary of state while he campaigns, with critics citing conflicts of interest.

Democratic Party of Georgia Executive Director Rebecca DeHart in a statement described 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,” she said. “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.”

“Brian Kemp is desperate to save his failing campaign, and it’s likely we’ll see even more of his abuses of power as the election nears, but Georgians will keep working hard, knocking on doors, making phone calls, and voting to make sure he doesn’t get a promotion,” she added.

Kemp has faced allegations of suppressing minority voters following a report last month that found 53,000 voter registration applications were on hold with just weeks to go before the election.

The applications primarily affected African-American and female voters under the state’s exact match law, which requires information on voter applications to exactly match that held by the government.

Abrams’s campaign called for Kemp to resign, as he oversees the state’s voter rolls as secretary of state. Abrams is attempting to become the state’s first female black governor.

A federal judge last week upheld an injunction blocking election officials in Georgia from throwing out absentee ballots when a resident’s signature doesn’t exactly match the signature on their voter registration card.

The gubernatorial race has been hotly contested for months, with neither candidate gaining any separation in the polls.

A RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Kemp leading by roughly 1 percentage point.

The race has attracted national attention, with former President Obama campaigning for Abrams last week and President Trump scheduled to hold a rally for Kemp on Sunday.

— This report was updated at 9:40 a.m. 

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