How voting issues became a big issue in Georgia’s governor race

From voting security to hacking to precinct closures, voting issues have become a major topic in Georgia’s campaign for governor.

The candidates — Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams — sparred in 2014 over Abrams’ project to register minorities before the election. 

Kemp’s office has been the target of several lawsuits. But he also challenged the Obama administration a few times. 

Here’s a look at complete coverage of Georgia’s voting issues going to back to 2010. 

New Georgia Project 

The bad blood between the candidates for Georgia’s 2018 race for governor began years before either filed to run of the state’s top seat. When she was a Democratic House leader, Stacey Abrams started the New Georgia Project with the goal of registering minorities to vote before the 2014 election. Secretary of State Brian Kemp said his office received numerous complaints about the group and made accusations of fraud.

Battle over voter registrations set stage for Georgia governor’s race - Aug 17, 2018

As piles of voter registration forms flooded election offices in 2014, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp launched a fraud investigation into Stacey Abrams’ ambitious effort to boost minority voter turnout.

Georgia AG gets 53 forms in probe of voter registration group - Sept. 20, 2017

Fifty-three allegedly forged voter applications are being referred to the state Attorney General’s Office for possible prosecution, a decision by the State Elections Board that effectively closes the Secretary of State Office’s 2014 fraud investigation involving an attention-grabbing registration drive by the New Georgia Project. 

The unanimous vote Wednesday came as the case’s lead investigator said he found no wrongdoing by the group, which was founded by then-state House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams to increase the number of minorities on voting rolls.

A high-profile Democratic voting group faces new scrutiny  - April 11, 2015 

The New Georgia Project came under sharp scrutiny not just from Secretary of State Brian Kemp, but from Democrats and donors concerned about the group’s results and transparency. 

An analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed discrepancies between the number of voter registration applications the project reported submitting in five key counties and the amount registrars said they actually received. 

‘Missing’ Georgia voters can be accounted for, Kemp saysOct. 16, 2014 

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said Thursday that his office could account for 55,000 people who were alleged to have been “missing” from the state’s voting rolls as he blasted accusations that his office failed to keep track of them.

National group sues Georgia over missing voter applicationsOct. 10, 2014

The national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights filed suit against Secretary of State Brian Kemp and five Georgia counties, asking a state judge to make sure more than 55,000 people will be able to vote in the Nov. 4 general election. 

State backs down on scope of voter fraud - Sept. 17, 2014

Investigators backed away from allegations that the New Georgia Project may have organized voter registration fraud, saying they can confirm 25 forged applications of more than 85,000 submitted to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. 

Voter registration fraud alleged at Democratic-backed groupSept. 10, 2014

Accusations of voter registration fraud by the Secretary of State’s Office erupted into a firestorm over Democrats’ efforts to mobilize tens of thousands of new voters in Georgia.  Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, announced the investigation after he said he received “numerous complaints” about voter registration applications submitted by the New Georgia Project. State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, founded the group in November. 

Data Breaches 

Millions of Georgia voters have had their personal information exposed in a data breaches, which has led to changes in how the state handles elections. 

Georgia to shift elections work in-house, away from Kennesaw StateJuly 14, 2017

Georgia, for the first time in more than a decade, has decided to move all its elections work in-house after a series of security lapses forced it to step away from its longtime relationship with the beleaguered elections center at Kennesaw State University. 

Feds: ‘Security researcher’ behind KSU data breach broke no federal lawMarch 31, 2017

Federal investigators say a “security researcher” was behind a data breach at Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems, and his probing of the system broke no federal law. 

As many as 7.5 million voter records involved in Georgia data breachMarch 3, 2017

Millions of Georgia voters may have had their personal information compromised for the second time in as many years, as the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation at Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems involving an alleged data breach. 

New details on Georgia Secretary of State Office’s massive data breach - Dec. 14, 2015

A long-awaited state report detailing how Georgia gave out more than 6 million voters’ Social Security numbers and other private data put the blame squarely on a employee fired for the breach last month. 

Data breach in Georgia could affect 6 million voters - Nov. 18, 2015

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp acknowledged that his office last month illegally disclosed the Social Security numbers and other private information of more than 6 million registered voters. 


Voting Security 

Calls for a paper ballots have increased in Georgia amid threats of hacking. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp also leveled accusations against Barack Obama’s administration over election security. 

How to hack elections on Georgia’s electronic voting machines - April 17, 2018

A rapt audience watched as professor Alex Halderman, an expert on electronic voting machines, changed votes in a hypothetical election before their eyes. 

At a Georgia Tech demonstration, Halderman showed how to rig an election by infecting voting machines with malware that guaranteed a chosen candidate would always win. 

Homeland Security requested documents over alleged hack in Georgia - Jan. 24, 2017

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requested documents from state officials after they alleged that the federal agency tried to hack into the Georgia’s voter registration system. 

The request from the agency’s inspector general is the first after Georgia congressman Jody Hice and Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, requested an independent review. 

Brian Kemp accuses Obama administration of hyping hacking threat - Aug. 29, 2016

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp turned down an offer from the federal government to help prevent hackers from manipulating the November election. 

The Republican told Politico why in an interview that accused President Barack Obama’s administration of playing up warnings over cyberthreats. 


Voting access 

In recent years, some Georgia counties have cut the number of voting locations. The state also continued a legal but controversial move removing people from the voter rolls. 

Voting precincts closed across Georgia since election oversight lifted - Aug. 31, 2018 

When a passionate crowd rallied to save polling places in rural Randolph County, it won a high-profile battle for voting access. 

But voters trying to preserve their local precincts are losing the war as voting locations are vanishing across Georgia. 

Kemp distances himself from proposed Georgia precinct closures - Aug. 23, 2018

Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp is rejecting allegations that he encouraged a plan to close voting precincts in a majority African-American county in southwest Georgia.

Supreme Court allows voter purges in states like Georgia - June 11, 2018

Georgia and other states can target people who haven’t cast ballots in a while in efforts to purge their voting rolls, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in an Ohio case that has drawn wide attention amid stark partisan divisions and the approach of the 2018 elections. 

Georgia cancels registration of more than 591,500 voters - July 31, 2017

Georgia canceled the registration of more than a half-million voters, part of an ongoing round of maintenance to clean up the state’s voting rolls. 

Lawsuits and complaints 

Kemp’s office has been the target of several lawsuits over voting issues. But he has also sued the federal government to approve the state’s verification system. 

Georgia settles suit alleging it blocked thousands of minority voters - Feb. 10, 2017

Georgia has settled a federal lawsuit that accused Secretary of State Brian Kemp of disenfranchising minority voters because of a requirement on registration forms that critics said blocked thousands of them from voter rolls.

Federal lawsuit alleges Georgia blocked thousands of minority voters - Sept. 14, 2016 

A federal lawsuit accuses Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp of disenfranchising thousands of minorities ahead of the presidential election, alleging that the state’s “strict matching” requirement for information on registration forms blocked them from voter rolls. 

Suit alleges that Georgia is illegally bumping voters off rolls - Feb. 11, 2016

A federal lawsuit has accused Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp of illegally bumping Georgia voters off the state’s rolls ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Georgians stung by confusion over voting law - Dec. 27, 2015

More than a year after an ill-fated state investigation of absentee voters sparked allegations of racism and voter suppression in rural Georgia, officials have not issued a planned reform that might prevent a recurrence.

Voting case mirrors national struggle - Dec. 13, 2014

Four years ago, black candidates won a majority of seats on the Brooks County school board, which had always been controlled by whites. They did it through an organized absentee ballot effort that generated close to 1,000 votes.  

Here’s what happened next: Armed agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Secretary of State questioned more than 400 of those voters

Georgia signs off on voting suit settlement - April 20, 2012

The state of Georgia has settled a lawsuit by agreeing to provide the opportunity to register to vote every time people apply for public assistance benefits, a coalition of civil rights groups said Thursday.

Justice Department approves Georgia voter verification system - Aug. 23, 2010

The Justice Department has ended nearly two years of court battles, giving final approval to Georgia's system of verifying voters' identity and citizenship.

Kemp asks Baker to sue feds over voter citizenship checks - April 8, 2010

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp wants Attorney General Thurbert Baker to appoint a special attorney general to sue the Justice Department over its refusal to sign off on a controversial state program to check the citizenship of people when they register to vote.

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