On Saturday, gubernatorial candidate and Secretary of State Brian Kemp opened an investigation into state Democrats, claiming that they were part of a hacking attempt into state voting data. Over the weekend, it came to light that Democrats had possibly attempted to bring a vulnerability in the election system to Kemp’s office, only to have the issue used as a political weapon against the party. Stacey Abrams reacted to the events, saying that Kemp had abused his power by “cooking up” allegations intended to make the Democratic Party of Georgia look bad, according to ABC.
Brian Kemp is running for governor of the state of Georgia. At the same time, he leads the office of Secretary of State, which oversees voting in the state. Saturday night, the office released a statement saying that they and federal partners were investigating the state Democratic party for “possible cyber crimes.” Kemp offered no evidence to support these claims.
According to a report by WhoWhatWhy, it appears that Democrats attempted to alert Kemp’s office to a potential flaw in the state’s My Voter Page that could expose users. Kemp’s office didn’t point to the Democrat’s alert as the reason for the investigation, but the timing is closely related.
The Democratic party responded to the accusation, calling it “100 percent false” and criticized the move as a political stunt. Abrams also commented on the investigation, saying that Kemp was trying to cover for his own failures as secretary of state.
“In fact, I think he cooked up the charge because he realizes once again he has left six million voters’ information vulnerable and this happened twice before,” Abrams told George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America.
She also told CNN that the investigation was a “witch hunt” and an “abuse of power.” Abrams has been critical of Kemp’s job as secretary of state, saying that he has been working to suppress voter turnout in the state.
Today is Election Day.— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) November 6, 2018
It is time to finish what we started and claim our victory.
Because when we all stand united and vote, the architects of voter suppression don't stand a chance.
GA is ready for more. We are ready to lead. Let's get it done: https://t.co/ibvTOolZIJ #gapol pic.twitter.com/Z2VY83XzYT
At a rally at the DeKalb Peachtree Airport on Monday, Kemp responded to questions about whether or not the investigation looked appropriate given the potential conflict of interest.
“I’m not worried about how it looks. I’m doing my job,” Kemp said. “This is how we would handle any investigation when something like this comes up.”
Kemp’s campaign shot back at Democrats, accusing the party of attempting to “regain relevance” in the state.
“The Democratic Party of Georgia will stop at nothing to regain relevance and power in our state,” Ryan Mahoney, Communications Director for Kemp’s campaign, said. “In an act of desperation, the Democrats tried to expose vulnerabilities in Georgia’s voter registration system. This was a 4th quarter Hail Mary pass that was intercepted in the end zone. 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.”