Last Wednesday, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, spoke with the University of Georgia College Republicans about a broad range of issues. One in particular that has caught national attention. Recently, the issue of security when it comes to the nation’s voting systems has been raised following multiple cyber-attacks including the ones on the Democratic National Committee. The Department of Homeland Security is currently trying to take action to increase security for the electronic voting process. Mr. Kemp says their plans are overreaching and there are constitutional concerns. This issue is highlighted in a recent Politico article.
Running and regulating elections has always been a power of the states, but the Department of Homeland Security has expressed its desire to work with states on voting security. The Secretary of the DHS, Jeh Johnson, has even suggested that it “should carefully consider” the matter of reclassifying the voting system as “critical infrastructure.” Such a move would give unprecedented federal authority over the nation’s election system, and Secretary Kemp contends it would allow the government to subvert the states’ ability to run elections effectively federalizing the system. Mr. Kemp had this to say:
“It seems like now it’s just the D.C. media and the bureaucrats, because of the DNC getting hacked — they now think our whole system is on the verge of disaster because some Russian’s going to tap into the voting system…And that’s just not — I mean, anything is possible, but it is not probable at all, the way our systems are set up.”
“The question remains whether the federal government will subvert the Constitution to achieve the goal of federalizing elections under the guise of security.”
Electronic voting in Georgia is a closed system and does not use the internet. Plus the machines undergo inspection and are sealed when not in use. Georgia and other states also already work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Election Assistance Commission. Following a conference call with Secretary Johnson and other Secretaries of State, Kemp believed that this was a regulatory push that had “been in the works.”
In the end, Mr. Kemp said he would accept help from the DHS if all they did was identify threats and warn the states, but he still argues that the media and federal bureaucrats are just raising unnecessary fears and alarm. He contends that it is highly improbable that the voting systems could be comprised to the point of swinging an election.