Brian Kemp slams Homeland Security over new elections designation

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Secretary of State Brian Kemp. AJC file/Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp over the weekend lashed out again at the federal Department of Homeland Security, this time over agency head Jeh Johnson’s decision late Friday to designate U.S. election systems as critical infrastructure.

Kemp, who first criticized federal officials in the months leading to November’s presidential election over what he said were outsized alarms related to election security, took to his Facebook page after the announcement and slammed the whole idea:

Today, the Department of Homeland Security designated election systems as critical infrastructure. This provocative but predictable decision moves the federal government one step closer to controlling the elections process. I am completely opposed to this blatant overreach and will continue to fight to keep election systems under the control of state government where it belongs.

The federal move, which Johnson first floated before the election, aims to provide more federal help for state and local governments to keep their election systems safe from cyber attacks or tampering.

Kemp in August agreed to join a Homeland Security task force working on the issue, but has since been with odds with the agency including over what Kemp alleged last month was an attempt by federal officials to hack into Georgia’s voter registration system.

In that instance, Homeland Security officials claimed a federal contractor based in Georgia used an agency computer to perform routine background checks of job applicants and that there was no malicious intent in the checks.

Kemp has asked President-elect Donald Trump to order a full investigation into the matter once he is inaugurated Jan. 20.


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