Georgia Secretary of State Probing State Democratic Party for Attempted Election Hack

November 4, 2018 Updated: November 4, 2018

Georgia Secretary of State and Republican candidate for governor Brian Kemp announced on Nov. 4 that his office is investigating the state Democratic Party for “possible cyber crimes.”

Kemp’s office notified the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI on Nov. 3 of an attempt to hack 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, the spokeswoman for Kemp’s office, said in a statement. “We can also confirm that no personal data was breached and our system remains secure.”

The hackers attempted to breach the My Voter Page of the online voter-registration system, according to a follow-up statement. The Office of the Secretary of State contacted private vendors and investigators to review data logs from the voting system, and Kemp requested that the FBI launch an investigation.

Kemp is in a close race against Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams for the state’s governorship. Kemp leads by an average of 2.7 percentage points in a Real Clear Politics review of recent polls.

“In an act of desperation, the Democrats tried to expose vulnerabilities in Georgia’s voter-registration system. This was a fourth-quarter Hail Mary pass that was intercepted in the end zone,” said Ryan Mahoney, the spokesman for Kemp’s campaign. “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.”

Kemp’s office manages Georgia’s My Voter Page, which allows voters to log in using their last name, first initial, county, and date of birth. Those who log in can check the status of their voter registration, mail-in application, or ballot. Voters can also use the page to check what data is online with the county office.

Rebecca DeHart, the spokeswoman for the Georgia Democratic Party, called Kemp’s accusations false.

“We were disturbed but not surprised that when Brian Kemp learned of major vulnerabilities to Georgians’ personal information, he didn’t work to fix the problem,” DeHart said in a statement. “He didn’t warn Georgians that their personal information may be compromised. He instead launched politically motivated accusations against his political opponents.”

Kemp and Abrams are competing to replace term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican.

President Donald Trump endorsed Kemp in late October.

“Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be a great governor,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Oct. 20. “He has been successful at whatever he has done, and has prepared for this very difficult and complex job for many years. He has my Strong Endorsement. His opponent is totally unqualified. Would destroy a great state!”

TV star Oprah Winfrey endorsed Abrams in late October. Winfrey was scheduled to attend a pair of town halls and go door-to-door for Abrams in the days before the election on Nov. 6.

Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov
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