ATLANTA — The office of Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is also the Republican gubernatorial nominee, said Sunday it is investigating the state Democratic Party in connection with an alleged attempt to hack Georgia’s online voter database, which is used to check in voters at polling places in the midterm elections.

The statement offered no evidence for the claim and didn’t specify allegations against Georgia Democrats. But it quickly became a last-minute flashpoint in one of the nation’s most closely contested governor’s races as Tuesday’s election loomed.

Democrats viewed the development as more evidence that Kemp’s office, which oversees elections, was serving as an extension of his gubernatorial campaign. Republicans, meanwhile, framed it as an instance of Democrats trying to arrange nefarious votes.

Sunday’s announcement came as the Coalition for Good Governance, a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Kemp alleging gross negligence in managing the state’s elections, cited published reports saying a third party had discovered that Georgia’s online registered voter database – which his office manages – is subject to hacking that could alter voters’ information or remove them from the registered voter list altogether.

University of Michigan computer scientist Matthew Bernhard reviewed the reported flaw – which the Democratic Party on Saturday asked several computer scientists to review – and said it could have allowed anyone with access to an individual voter’s personal information to alter the record of any voter in the system.

The incident is the latest turn in a contest whose final weeks have been dominated by charges of voter suppression and countercharges of attempted voter fraud.

Democrat Stacey Abrams, who would become the nation’s first black female governor if she wins, has called Kemp “an architect of voter suppression” and says he’s used his post as chief elections officer to make it harder for certain voters to cast ballots. Kemp counters that he’s following state and federal law and that it’s Abrams and affiliated voting advocacy groups trying to help people, including noncitizens, cast ballots illegally.

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