Update, 5:15 p.m. ET Sunday: WhoWhatWhy reported Sunday that the investigation Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial nominee Brian Kemp’s office announced Sunday may be the result of a good faith effort to inform the office of a “major” vulnerability in the state’s voter registration system. “Instead of addressing the security issues,” WhoWhatWhy reported, “Kemp’s office put out a statement Sunday saying he had opened an investigation that targets the Democrats for hacking.”
Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on Sunday called Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp’s office’s newly-launched investigation into Democrats — announced two days before Election Day — “a desperate attempt on the part of my opponent.”
The Georgia Secretary of State’s office on Sunday announced a last-minute investigation into the Georgia Democratic Party for “possible cyber crimes.”
Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp still leads the Secretary of State’s office despite being a candidate for governor. The office provided no evidence to accompany the two-paragraph press release announcing the investigation.
TPM’s request for comment to the office went unanswered Sunday morning.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning, Abrams said “I’ve heard nothing about it.”
“My reaction would be that 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, and have forced him to allow absentee ballots to be counted and those who are being captive by the ‘exact match’ system to be allowed to vote.”
“He is desperate to turn the conversation away from his failures, from his refusal to honor his commitments and from the fact that he is part of a nationwide system of voter suppression that will not work in this election,” Abrams added. “Because we are going to outwork him, we are going to outvote him and we are going to win.”
ABRAMS on KEMP's office's last-minute announcement that it is investigating the Georgia Democratic Party for "possible cyber crimes": "This is a desperate attempt on the part of my opponent to distract people." pic.twitter.com/Y9FrhB2rOG
— Matt Shuham (@mattshuham) November 4, 2018
The two-paragraph press release from Kemp’s office — titled “AFTER FAILED HACKING ATTEMPT, SOS LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO GEORGIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY” — reads: “After a failed attempt to hack the state’s voter registration system, the Secretary of State’s office opened an investigation into the Democratic Party of Georgia on the evening of Saturday, November 3, 2018. Federal partners, including the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation, were immediately alerted.”
“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,” Press Secretary Candice Broce says in the press release. “We can also confirm that no personal data was breached and our system remains secure.”
A federal judge on Friday ruled that Kemp’s office must take steps to accommodate voters marked incorrectly as non-citizens due to the state’s strict “exact match” system.
A statement from the Democratic Party of Georgia on Sunday read in part: “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.”
Midday Sunday, the Secretary of State’s office released another statement about the probe: “We opened an investigation into the Democratic Party of Georgia after receiving information from our legal team about failed efforts to breach the online voter registration system and My Voter Page. We are working with our private sector vendors and investigators to review data logs. We have contacted our federal partners and formally requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate these possible cyber crimes. The Secretary of State’s office will release more information as it becomes available.”
This post has been updated.