While her Republican opponent was accused of more “Banana Republic”-style antics on the eve of the mid-term elections, Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on Monday responded by keeping a laser focus on what her strategy has largely been from the outset: a massive “Get Out the Vote” effort to overcome GOP suppression efforts.
Local volunteers as well as people from all over the country were out in full force over the weekend, knocking on doors across the state and urging Georgia residents to vote on Tuesday. Dozens of canvassing events are planned for Monday and Tuesday as well.
Amid the enormous effort, Abrams’ Republican opponent, Secretary of State Brian Kemp—who is also in charge of overseeing the state’s elections—revealed his latest effort to manipulate the voting process on Sunday when, without any evidence, he accused the Democratic Party of attempting to hack the state’s voter database.
“He is desperate to turn the conversation away from his failures, from his refusal to honor his commitments, and from the fact that he is part of a nationwide system of voter suppression that will not work in this election.” —Stacey AbramsOn the Secretary of State website, Kemp posted that his office had opened an investigation into state Democrats for “possible cyber crimes.” No details were provided.
According to the New York Times, the accusation appeared to arise as a result of emails between a Democratic Party volunteer and another individual who said the state’s voter database was vulnerable to potential privacy breaches. Democrats have raised concerns twice in recent years about vulnerabilities in the system.
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“I think he cooked up the charge because he realizes once again he has left six million voters’ information vulnerable,” Abrams said of Kemp Monday morning on ABC. “This has happened twice before. This is another failure of his leadership and he recognizes that if he got caught two days before election having exposed so many Georgians, he would lose. And so he did what he does always: blamed someone else for his mistake.”
“What Kemp has done now goes beyond the pale,” wrote Richard Hasen at Slate. “He’s accused his opponents of election tampering without evidence on the eve of the election, and plastered the incendiary charge on an official state website in the days before his office will administer that election. This is some banana republic stuff.”
Democrats said Sunday that it was “abundantly clear” that no hacking attempt had been made.
“The Kemp campaign has no case and must immediately retract their defamatory accusations,” the party said in a statement.
The accusation came days after a federal judge challenged one of Kemp’s most high-profile attempts at voter suppression: the state’s “exact match” rule, which left 53,000 voter registrations in “pending” status after their registration forms did not precisely match other identification forms due to clerical errors. A U.S. District Court ruled Friday that those voters will have their votes counted on Tuesday.
“This is a desperate attempt on the part of my opponent to distract people from the fact that two different federal judges found him derelict in his duties and forced him to allow absentee ballots to be counted and those who are being held captive by the exact match system be allowed to vote,” Abrams told Jake Tapper on CNN.
“He is desperate to turn the conversation away from his failures, from his refusal to honor his commitments, and from the fact that he is 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 outvote him, and we are going to win,” she added.