Under the Dome

NC gets news from Homeland Security on Russian elections hacking

Officials in Durham took its electronic voting system off-line after problems in several precincts during the November elections.
Officials in Durham took its electronic voting system off-line after problems in several precincts during the November elections. N&O file photo

Russian hackers did not target North Carolina voting systems last year, a state elections official said Friday.

The federal Department of Homeland Security was calling states Friday, and delivered the news to North Carolina that it was not one of the 21 states that had equipment probed by Russian hackers.

The State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement said it did not have information on other states.

Homeland Security told Congress in June that 21 states were potentially targeted by hackers linked to the Russian government.

“We are greatly relieved to hear that North Carolina’s systems were not directly targeted by Russian hackers,” Kim Westbrook Strach, the State Board’s executive director, said in a statement. “North Carolina will continue to be vigilant and work with federal partners in the ongoing effort to secure the democratic process in our state.”

The office continues to examine voting equipment used in Durham for the 2016 general elections. On Election Day, officials in Durham took its electronic voting system off-line after problems in several precincts. Poll workers were unable to look up voter information electronically.

A report in The Intercept based on leaked National Security Agency document revealed that Russian hackers targeted an elections machine company whose software is used in some North Carolina counties, including Durham.

Outside cyber security experts said the breakdown in Durham may be evidence of an attack.

The state board has asked Homeland Security whether Russian hacking is now ruled out as a source of Durham’s problems.

Lynn Bonner: 919-829-4821, @Lynn_Bonner

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