The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) found no evidence to support Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s claim that the state’s voter registration system had been hacked just two days ahead of his 2018 election against Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams. As Georgia’s secretary of state at the time, Kemp was overseeing his own gubernatorial election when he announced the investigation into the Democratic Party of Georgia over “possible cybercrimes.”
“The GBI conducted an extensive and thorough investigation which included assistance from the GBI Cyber Crime Center,” the report from the office of Attorney General Chris Carr stated. “The investigation by the GBI revealed no evidence of damage to the [Secretary of State] network or computers, and no evidence of theft, damage, or loss of data.”
Kemp, who went on to beat Abrams in one of the closest races in state history, was widely condemned by critics who believed he used his position as the state’s top election official to accuse his opponent of cheating without any support for his claim.
Kemp’s allegations stemmed from an email sent by web developer Richard Wright to a Democratic party volunteer about what he believed were vulnerabilities with the voting registration database. Wright had attempted to download a sample ballot from the state’s voting website when he found that the website allowed public users to download and voter files containing personally identifying information.
Following the release of the report, Democratic Party of Georgia Chairwoman and State Senator Nikema Williams told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Kemp concocted “outright lies” to attack his political opponents in order to help his own election prospects.
“More than a year after the sitting secretary of state leveraged baseless accusations against his political opponents, we’re finally receiving closure on an ‘investigation’ that has been a sham from the start,” said Williams. “As we have since well before these outright lies came to light in the first place, Georgia Democrats will continue to do everything in our power to fight back against voter suppression.”
Gov. Kemp’s office maintained that his actions were proper, continuing to refer to the incident as a “failed cyber intrusion” despite no corroborating evidence.
“We appreciate the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and attorney general’s office for investigating a failed cyber intrusion before the November 2018 election,” Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for Kemp, told the Journal-Constitution. “More importantly, we are grateful that the systems put in place by Brian Kemp as Georgia’s secretary of state kept voter data safe and secure.”
Read the full report below:
[image via John Bazemore-Pool_Getty Images]