Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp responded this morning to a USA Today editorial that points out an inconvenient fact:
in Georgia, where researchers discovered a gaping hole in election security last fall, it’s unclear what has been done to plug it. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has argued vehemently against replacing the state’s voting machines, which are susceptible to sabotage because they lack a paper record of votes.
Kemp could have defended himself by behaving like a responsible public servant and: (1) acknowledging the threat, (2) promising to marshal the considerable resources at his disposal to meet the threat, and (3) forming a national strength-in-numbers coalition of election officials to adopt the common-sense reforms that are the consensus recommendation of voting technology experts. He did not do that.
Instead, Kemp laid out his case for placing his personal political ambitions above his duty to protect Georgia voters:
As reporters chase stories to feed the 24-hour news cycle, they dilute facts and develop false narratives about Russian hacking and potential vulnerabilities in the system. The prevailing plot line is that states like Georgia can’t provide suitable security for elections.
At last month’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, national security officials testified that there is no doubt about Russian hacking. Committee members-who have been briefed on the threats and vulnerabilities-showed rare bipartisan agreement. They also said that DHS has not conducted classified briefings for state election officials, so Brian Kemp actually has no way to know whether the “narratives” are false.
This sounds like me. When I was Mayor of Amity, Chief Brody tried to get me to close the beaches because of a great white shark that was snacking on 4th of July tourists. I was more concerned about the political implications than protecting people. I’ve apologized for my irresponsible behavior. My hope is that Brian Kemp follows suit, but I don’t think that’s very likely.
The next best outcome is for Kemp’s Republican gubernatorial opponent, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle to use this shocking editorial to argue that Kemp should never again be allowed to represent the public interest.
In the meantime, Georgians are left to wonder whether the results of recent elections can be trusted.