In preparation for the midterms, some states are ditching electronic voting machines for paper ballots, and it’s all thanks to Russia. Nathan Rousseau Smith (@FantasticMrNate) reports.
MADISON, Wis. — Russians attempted to hack elections systems in 21 states in the run-up to last year’s presidential election, officials said Friday.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified states of the attempted breaches on Friday, said Michael Haas, director of the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The attempt in Wisconsin was unsuccessful, he said.
Homeland Security officials said the effort was conducted by “Russian government cyber actors,” according to Haas. He said he did not know which states other than Wisconsin were part of the hacking attempt.
According to the Associated Press, states that were targeted included some key political battlegrounds, such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The AP contacted every state election office to determine which ones had been informed that their election systems had been targeted. The others confirming were Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Washington.
Previously reported: Russian hacking attempt targets small elections-technology industry
Previously reported:: Paper ballots are back in vogue thanks to Russian hacking fears
Homeland Security officials first reported in June that election systems in 21 states had been targeted during a hearing before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. At that hearing, Haas told the committee he had concluded Wisconsin was not one of the targeted states, at least in part because Homeland Security had not alerted him to any attempted breach.
State officials are seeking more information about the incident and why they were not notified sooner, Haas said.
“This scanning had no impact on Wisconsin’s systems or the election,” Haas said in a statement. “Internet security provided by the state successfully protected our systems. Homeland Security…