It turns out that Russia’s brigade of computer hackers did more than test the vulnerability of American voter registration and ballot counting systems in the 2016 election.
They got in.
Jeanette Manfra, the top cybersecurity officer at the Department of Homeland Security, told NBC News on Wednesday that the Russians successfully penetrated voter registration systems in several states. She declined to identify them.
Despite the findings of its own cybersecurity analysts, and warnings from officials including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and CIA Director Mike Pompeo that Russia will attempt to disrupt this year’s contests for the House and Senate, the Trump administration is doing little to counter the threat.
The president continues to insist that investigations of Russia’s 2016 election meddling are a “witch hunt.” And Republican congressional leaders, who command majorities in the House and Senate, have not scheduled action on bills aimed at beefing up election security.
Manfra declined to identify the states whose systems were penetrated. Homeland Security leaders previously have said that Russian hackers targeted systems in 21 states; there apparently is no evidence that the Russians altered registration records or vote tabulations.
Manfra told NBC that state officials who maintain registration records and voting equipment are taking the Russian threat seriously. At the urging of Common Cause and other watchdog groups, several states have shifted to paper ballots and instituted risk-limiting audits, which can verify that votes are accurately counted.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Voting and Elections