Federal election security task force will include Georgia’s Brian Kemp


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Federal election security task force will include Georgia’s Brian Kemp

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Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in a staff meeting at his office in the Capitol last year. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Days after criticizing federal officials over their warnings of cyberthreats to states’ election systems, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has agreed to join a federal task force working on the issue.

Kemp is one of four secretaries of states who accepted an appointment Wednesday to the newly formed Department of Homeland Security’s Election Infrastructure Cyber Security Working Group.

The group, which includes Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, is being touted as an information-sharing project between top state elections officials and federal agencies on election cyber security best practices.

In a prepared statement released by his office, Kemp lauded what he called a “bi-partisan collaboration (that) welcomes expert advice and respects our constitutional roles, which is the right approach to this important issue of protecting the vote.”

Kemp has said previously he had turned down an offer from the federal government to help prevent hackers from manipulating the presidential election. Such an intrusion, he told Politico in an article published Sunday, was “not probable at all, the way our systems are set up” and he said federal officials and the media were exaggerating concerns of cyberthreats.

The FBI’s cyber division warned states Aug. 18 that it was investigating hacking-related incidents related to elections data systems in two states, believed to be Arizona and Illinois.

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