Kemp charges Georgia Democrats with attempted voter hack. Abrams fires back: 'Desperate'

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor, said Sunday he was investigating the state Democratic Party for an attempted hack of the voter registration system — a claim met with a swift response from Democrats charging him with a shameless "political stunt" two days before Election Day.

Kemp, who is in a neck-and-neck race with Stacey Abrams, alleged that the state Democratic Party made a "failed attempt to hack the state's voter registration system," and announced his office was opening an investigation into the party. Kemp said his office alerted the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI and offered no evidence to back up his allegation.

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

Democrats blasted the announcement, which comes amid the backdrop of one of the nation's most fiercely contested races ahead of Election Day on Tuesday.

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FILE PHOTO: Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp speaks with visitors to the state capitol about the "SEC primary" involving a group of southern states voting next month in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Letitia Stein/File Photo
Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp greet the crowd during a "Get Out The Vote" rally at the Dalton Convention Center on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018 in Dalton, Ga. Republican Brian Kemp is facing off against Democrat Stacey Abrams for governor in Georgia.(C.B. Schmelter/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)
Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp waves to the crowd during a "Get Out The Vote" rally at the Dalton Convention Center on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018 in Dalton, Ga. Republican Brian Kemp is facing off against Democrat Stacey Abrams for governor in Georgia.(C.B. Schmelter/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)
GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp waves to his supporters during a Get Out The Vote rally at Dalton Convention Center in Dalton on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. Kemp is trying to extend the Republican domination in Georgia, which hasn't elected a Democrat as governor since 1998. He's banking on running up wide margins outside metro Atlanta and holding most of the GOP votes closer to the city. (Hyosub Shin /Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Vice President Mike Pence and GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp wave to supporters at Dalton Convention Center in Dalton, Ga., on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. Kemp is trying to extend the Republican domination in Georgia, which hasn't elected a Democrat as governor since 1998. He's banking on running up wide margins outside metro Atlanta and holding most of the GOP votes closer to the city. (Hyosub Shin /Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
People hold up signs for Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp during a rally at the Dalton Convention Center on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, in Dalton, Ga. Kemp is facing off against Democrat Stacey Abrams for governor in Georgia. (C.B. Schmelter/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)
Republican gubernatorial candidate for Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, center, speaks as Democrat Stacey Abrams, left, and Libertarian Ted Metz look on during a debate Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, Pool)
Georgia Pubic Service Commission Chairman Lauren "Bubba'" McDonald, left, sings as he stands on stage with Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle and Republican nominee for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, right, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee for Georgia governor, answers questions Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, during an appearance at a conference of the Georgia Economic Developers Association in Savannah, Ga. Kemp faces Democrat Stacey Abrams in the general election Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)
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Rebecca DeHart, executive director of the state's Democratic Party, said in a statement that the investigation was "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," DeHart said. "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."

During an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" Sunday, Abrams called Kemp's announcement "a desperate attempt on the part of my opponent to distract people from" judicial rulings that had gone against decisions he made as secretary of state, the office that oversees voting in the state.

In one such battle, a federal judge ruled against Kemp on Friday and decided that the state must make it easier for some people flagged under Georgia's "exact match" law 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's part of a nationwide system of voter suppression that will not work in this election because we're going to outwork him, we're going to out vote him ... and we're going to win," Abrams said.

The race's most prominent back-and-forth involves Kemp's current role as the state's top election official. That controversy centers on Kemp purging tens of thousands of voters, most of whom are black, from voter rolls ahead of next week's election. Kemp has denied that he is attempting to suppress the black vote, saying that he is simply following the law.

Abrams has accused Kemp of undermining confidence in democracy and creating "an atmosphere of fear" for voters through his actions as secretary of state — allegations that Kemp has called "a farce."

Former President Jimmy Carter, a Georgian, recently called for Kemp to resign from his position.

Last month, an NBC News/Marist poll found that the race is essentially tied, with likely voters favoring Kemp by a 49 percent to 47 percent spread, a number within the poll's margin of error. Among registered voters, the two candidates are tied at 47 percent.

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