Georgia Democrat leader demands details on voter data breach

Brian Kemp in a staff meeting at his office in the Capitol. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

The chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia on Monday demanded that Secretary of State Brian Kemp accept help from the Department of Homeland Security after an alleged breach of confidential data that could affect millions of Georgia voter records.

DuBose Porter also criticized Kemp for disclosing few details about the nature and origin of the attack, and raised concerns that it could affect the April 18 special election to replace former Rep. Tom Price.

“The security of—and confidence in—our voting system is bedrock of American democracy,” Porter wrote. “It is your obligation to provide all Georgians with assurance that our voting system is sound and secure.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation launched an inquiry into the suspected cyberattack on this month at the request of state officials after they received notice that records kept by the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University may have been compromised.

Kemp, who oversees the state’s elections, has said little about the breach since the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the FBI’s involvement – aside from a brief statement expressing confidence the federal investigators would track down the perpetrator.

His office accused Porter of trying to create a “manufactured crisis” to help Democratic candidates.

“While we have been patient as KSU works with the FBI to resolve this serious investigation, the Georgia Democrats are launching a manufactured crisis,” said Kemp spokeswoman Candice Broce. “They would love nothing more than for us to flout Georgia law and use paper ballots so they can challenge the results when they lose, but we will not cater to such childish antics.”

He has yet to respond to a letter sent last week by Democrat Jon Ossoff, one of 18 candidates in the Congressional race, demanding similar details.

Porter’s letter urged Kemp to “immediately” accept the homeland security agency’s offer to scan the state’s elections infrastructure and offer advice on weak spots in the system.

Kemp has had a testy relationship with the agency and in December outlined what he said was an attempt by federal officials to hack into Georgia’s voter registration system.

The letter also demands that Kemp make public the details of the breaches and what the office is doing to defend against them.

“We look forward to you assuming your statutory obligation and providing Georgians regardless of political party the assurances they deserve,” Porter wrote.

Read DuBose Porter’s letter to Brian Kemp here.

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