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State of Georgia Web Site Promotes Kemp Campaign Page

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Voter GA released a video today that shows how the Georgia Secretary of State (SOS) web site directs traffic to a Kemp for Governor Campaign page on Facebook.

GA SOS Web Site Linked to Kemp for Gov Facebook page from Garland Favorito on Vimeo.

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The video illustrates how a voter trying to get after hours help is directed to Secretary Kemp's campaign page promoting his bid for governor. The deceptive link has been on the state SOS web page for over 6 months.

The attempt of an incumbent to gain an election advantage by linking official state business to their personal campaign sites has long been considered a violation of Georgia campaign law. [O.C.G.A. 21-5-30.2(b), O.C.G.A. 21-5-30.2(b)] Oath of office and state property misappropriation laws may also apply. [O.C.G.A. 16-10-1][O.C.G.A. 16-10-2]

This is not the first time that Secretary Kemp has run afoul of legal statutes. In 2012, he acknowledged modifying the statutorily mandated ballot language of the TSPLOST referendum although the ballot question had been defined by state law. His questionable, unauthorized language made the referendum appear more favorable to voters who still rejected it by near 2-1 margins. [O.C.G.A. 48-8-244]

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Recent Georgia Secretaries have been able to operate above the law. On May 3, 2002, SOS Cathy Cox signed a $54 million contract to purchase Georgia's voting machines even though they did not have an independent audit trail of each vote cast as the law required. [O.C.G.A . 21-2-301(b) - 2001] On May 9, Gov. Barnes signed Act 789 that the General Assembly passed as SB414 to remove the previous audit requirement of SB213 and "legalize" the machines against future challenges.

After Karen Handel was elected SOS in 2006, her new Inspector General (IG) function conducted some highly politicized investigations that nearly destroyed innocent peoples' lives. Some of these are documented in a comprehensive HR1714 impeachment resolution that was filed in 2010 by a fellow Republican. The resolution against Handel's IG, Shawn LaGrua, was not heard in the Judiciary Committee and Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed LaGrua as a Fulton County Superior Court judge. She issued two orders in the recent April 18 elections.

These former examples indicate that Secretary Kemp's electioneering attempt to use Georgia's web site for personal gain is just a continuation of the lack of accountability that has persisted in the SOS office for the last 15 years.

 

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Garland Favorito is a co-founder of VoterGA.

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