Brian Kemp announces last minute investigation into Democrats for registration tampering, offers no evidence
Brian Kemp, the Georgia secretary of state and the Republican candidate of governor in Georgia, has issued a call to investigate the Georgia Democratic Party ahead of the upcoming election. Two days out from a too-close-to-call contest against Stacey Abrams, Kemp alleges that someone attempted to hack voting registration files and pointed to finger at Democrats, but presented no evidence for doing so.
Democrats were quick to call Kemp’s move a power play ahead of the final day of voting on Tuesday. Kemp has been consistently criticized over the last few weeks as his secretary of state post puts him in charge of elections, and being the nominee for governor has often seemed to be a conflict of interest. Many have questioned his motives for declaring an investigation into the opposing party this late into the campaign.
Stacey Abrams, in her bid to become the nation’s first Black woman governor, has been able to galvanize voters and battle Kemp to a dead heat in the Georgia gubernatorial race. Abrams has repeatedly called for him to step down as secretary of state, something Kemp has flatly refused to do. Kemp’s office has overseen purges of about 2 million voters from the rolls since 2012, and tried to stall more than 50,000 voter applications, most of them from Black voters, as he denies any voting suppression is taking place.
Kemp’s assertion initially came with zero supporting evidence, but late Sunday evening, Candace Broce, a spokeswoman for Kemp’s office, told the New York Times that a person named Rachel Small with the state’s Democratic Party sent an e-mail “talking about trying to hack the Secretary of State’s system.” But the state’s Democratic Party released the email exchanges Broce referred to, and they do not appear to be targeting the system, just discussing the troubling weaknesses of it.
Two breaches in the last few years have exposed millions of Georgians data, something the Georgia Democrats have said points directly at the incompetence of Brian Kemp. The email exchange between Rachel Small and a man named Richard Wright explicitly discusses how a site that uses sample ballots and poll cards can be easily manipulated to turn over voter data that should be secure.
Ryan Mahoney, Kemp’s campaign manager said about the attempted hacking in a statement, “This was a 4th quarter Hail Mary pass that was intercepted in the end zone,” Mahoney continued. “Thanks to the systems and protocols established by Secretary of State Brian Kemp, no personal information was breached. These power-hungry radicals should be held accountable for their criminal behavior.”