ATLANTA -- Among its many duties, the office of Secretary of State of Georgia manages and preserves public records. When Carla Smith went looking for a copy of the Georgia Constitution -- she went to the Secretary of State's web site.
"That's what I went specifically looking for," said Smith, who has worked in politics. "And gave up."
Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office changed what it called an outdated web site over the last year; much of it, over the last month.
"We like the website," said Kemp's spokesman, Jared Thomas. "We think it's working great."
Thomas says the site has had its share of hiccups. Critics say it's worse than that.
"You can't figure out who's running for office. The corporations registration is still a little confusing and messed up," said Charlie Harper, editor of Peach Pundit, a conservative political website. "There's data on there that's just wrong or is missing. But we have a really nice picture of the Secretary of State."
Secretary Kemp's spokesman argues that the new site is actually an improvement.
"We do feel we have most of the kinks out of it," Thomas said. "However, from any transition from an old site to a new site, from an old system to a new system, there are going to be some hiccups. And we have folks who are working on them every day."
Thomas says the site was produced by Alpharetta-based Stoneridge Group, whose homepage touts its work in Republican political campaigns -- including Governor Nathan Deal and Secretary of State Kemp. Kemp's current 2014 re-election site is also the work of Stoneridge Group.
We asked Thomas if the Secretary of State site was the product of cronyism.
"Absolutely not," Thomas said. "This was done through a competitive bid process. Stoneridge is a very respected firm." Thomas said six firms bid to make the site. He said Stoneridge was the only one that could meet the bid specifications.
Thomas also rebuffed any suggestion that there was any comparison between the Secretary of State's website woes, and those of healthcare.gov, the Affordable Care Act site. "We feel that ours was a successful rollout," Thomas said.
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