Abrams says Kemp's hacking probe is effort to suppress Georgia votes

Last Updated Nov 5, 2018 11:34 AM EST

Stacey Abrams, Georgia's Democratic candidate for governor, roundly dismissed the accusation by her opponent that Democrats had tried to hack the state's voter registration files. There is "no evidence" of any impropriety, Abrams told "CBS This Morning" Monday. GOP nominee Brian Kemp, who is Georgia's secretary of state, oversees elections, and on Sunday announced an investigation into the Georgia Democratic Party over the attempted hacking, just two days before the election.

The secretary of state's office has cited no evidence for the probe against the Democrats. An attorney named David Cross, who represents election security advocates, on Saturday contacted the secretary of state's office and the FBI to alert them to what he deemed a "serious vulnerability" in the voter registration system that potentially made information about individual voters accessible. He said that a private citizen had pointed out the flaw in the system, according to the Associated Press, which noted that the flaw would enable anyone who had access to a voter's personal information to change the voter's record. 

The citizen, according to the AP also told the Georgia Democratic Party about the vulnerability, and its voter protection director, Sara Tindall Ghazal, contacted two computer security officials. "If this report is accurate, it is a massive vulnerability," wrote Tindall Ghazal, according to the AP. 

Abrams accused Kemp's office of being slow to take any action on the alleged security flaw, which it had learned about Saturday but did not take action until Sunday. "He failed to act," she said. The secretary of state's office has referred the matter to the FBI. Abrams said she has not yet been contacted by the bureau. The state Democratic Party has denied any involvement, saying that the "scurrilous claims" are "100 percent false." Abrams called the accusation another example of Kemp's "pattern of voter suppression."

Kemp was invited on "CBS This Morning" and declined to appear.

In a subsequent statement Sunday afternoon, the secretary of state's office said the investigation was prompted by "information from our legal team about failed efforts to breach the online voter registration system and My Voter Page." It said it had referred the matter to the FBI and "will release more information as it becomes available."

At at rally with President Trump on Sunday, Kemp did not reference the allegation, instead criticizing Abrams as part of the "radical left" who is seeking to make Georgia as liberal as California. "They are energized, they are mobilized," he said Sunday.

The Georgia race is one of the most closely watched in tomorrow's midterm contests. The race has been clouded by allegations of voter suppression tactics. If elected, Abrams would be the first African-American female governor in the U.S.

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