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Friday, January 8, 2010 - 1:36pm

Brian Kemp Sworn-in as Sec. of State

Today Brian Kemp, a former state senator from Athens was sworn in as Georgia’s Secretary of state. Kemp was a candidate for the job before being picked by Governor Sonny Perdue.

Kemp is a Republican and says he will continue the voter ID policy of his predecessor, Karen Handel.

Last year the U.S. justice Department twice rejected a citizen verification process for newly registered voters which Handel had implemented. Kemp will have to weigh whether he will ask the justice department to approve a new state law that would do similar verifications. He says he believes in tight controls on who votes in Georgia.

"I believe its common sense that people be citizens when they register to vote and I continue to fight for that as secretary of state," Kemp says.

But, he says, he'll meet with state lawyers to see how to proceed first.

Kemp now has the advantage of incumbency in the Republican Primary later this year. Governor Sonny Perdue says he is not playing favorites in picking Kemp for the job over two other Republican candidates, Doug Mac Ginnitie and Robin Carlisle.

"It is the prerogative of the chief executive of this state when there is an opening such as this to choose the person that they believe can do this office in the best way possible," Perdue says. "If that person also happens to be a candidate for the office, so be it."

5 Democrats are seeking their parties nomination for Secretary of State. Karen Handel resigned the post last month to concentrate on her run for governor.