Democratic Party of GA accused of hacking voter registry; Abrams calls it desperate ploy

ATLANTA — The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office says it is investigating a failed attempt to hack the state’s voter registration system by the Democratic Party of Georgia, the office said in a news release.

The state has not said what evidence they have that a hack occurred.

"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," said secretary of state office press secretary Candice Broce. "We can also confirm that no personal data was breached and our system remains secure."

Secretary of State Brian Kemp is running for governor of Georgia against Democrat Stacey Abrams. The investigation comes just two days before the election.

Channel 2's Mike Petchenik sat down one on one with Stacey Abrams just hours after the announcement of the investigation.

She called the investigation a desperate political ploy.

"He is trying to rile up his base by misleading voters yet again," Abrams said. "This is also someone who has a strong habit of having hackable systems. And the problem is, Democrats did nothing wrong. What is happening is that he, once again, is overseeing a vulnerable system and is blaming someone for his mistakes."

During a campaign rally with President Donald Trump, Kemp didn't mention the alleged hack.

The secretary of state's office released more information about the alleged hack Sunday afternoon.

"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," Broce said.

Channel 2's Aaron Diamant has been in touch with his sources since the story broke Sunday morning. Diamant spoke one on one with the chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party.

“We would like to see what evidence they have, because there is no evidence that there was a hacking by the Democratic Party, because there that hasn’t happened," DuBose Porter said.

A spokesperson from the Secretary of State's office sent Diamant a text message with more details about the investigation, "The FBI is looking for information on ‘Rachel Small.’ We welcome any information about this person’s identity or motives to provide to federal authorities…Who is Rachel Small? Is that her real name, and for whom does she work?"

A spokesperson for the Democratic Party confirmed Small is a volunteer, who merely forwarded an email to a superior, who then forwarded it on to a cybersecurity expert. Ultimately that email made its way to the secretary of state’s office investigators, who launched the investigation.

The Democratic Party of Georgia released a statement Sunday morning providing more details, saying:

"This is yet another example of abuse of power by an unethical Secretary of State. To be very clear, Brian Kemp's scurrilous claims are 100 percent false, and this so-called investigation was unknown to the Democratic Party of Georgia until a campaign operative in Kemp's official office released a statement this morning. This political stunt from Kemp just days before the election is yet another example of why he cannot be trusted and should not be overseeing an election in which he is also a candidate for governor. It is also a fact that Brian Kemp is the last person who can be trusted on cyber security given his record of leaking the personal information and social security numbers of six million Georgians. 11th hour, cynical ploys come as no surprise from Brian Kemp, a man who raided the offices of organizations who register people to vote and had a woman arrested for helping her blind father cast his ballot. Brian Kemp is desperate to save his failing campaign, and it's likely we'll see even more of his abuses of power as the election nears, but Georgians will keep working hard, knocking on doors, making phone calls, and voting to make sure he doesn't get a promotion."

The Kemp campaign sent Channel 2 Action News a statement about the allegations Sunday afternoon:

"The Democratic Party of Georgia will stop at nothing to regain relevance and power in our state," said Communications Director Ryan Mahoney. "They lied about Georgia's 'pending' voter list, made up stories about missing absentee ballot requests, and spread misinformation about our state's voting machines. Every time, their ridiculous claims were undermined by the truth.

"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."

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