US Officials Confident in Election Security as Voters Head to Polls

Officials overseeing U.S. election security are expressing confidence as voters across the country head to the polls to cast ballots for president and a multitude of state and local races.
 
Millions of Americans were expected to vote in person Tuesday, the last day for citizens to cast a ballot, in addition to the more than 100 million, who voted by mail or at early voting centers.
 
And despite indications that U.S. adversaries will try to disrupt the election process, early evidence suggests any such attempts have failed to make an impact.
 
“We have no indications that a foreign adversary has succeeded in compromising or affecting the actual votes cast in this election,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said at a briefing just hours after the first polling sites opened their doors.
 
“Our election infrastructure is resilient,” he said. “But we do remain on high alert.”
 
U.S. officials have already acknowledged at least two attempts to penetrate systems seen as critical to elections in recent weeks, one by Iran and one by Russia.
 
In both cases, hackers were able to steal information related to voter registration databases, with Iranian hackers managing to infiltrate one state’s database and use  that information as part of a disinformation campaign.US Confirms Iran Hacked Voter Registration Data in 1 StateOfficials describe the hack as part of broad Iranian campaign, warning that while Tuesday’s election remains safe, more attacks are comingStill, officials said Tuesday that those attacks were shut down quickly and would have no bearing on the outcome of the election.
 
“No voter data was altered,” a senior official with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said during a call with reporters Tuesday.  
 
“We remain confident in the security of the vote, the vote count and the certification process,” the official said, speaking only on the condition of anonymity.
 
Some polling locations reported long lines as they opened for voters, although electiononline.org, which describes itself as a nonpartisan clearinghouse for election information, said most of that was due to a high volume of voters.
 
Other polling sites in New York, Georgia, Indiana and Ohio were plagued by a variety of technical problems.
 
In Franklin County, Ohio, election officials had to abandon use of their electronic pollbooks, which help keep track of voter information and ensures that voters cannot vote twice and switched to paper pollbooks instead.
 
But federal officials said such incidents should not be cause for alarm.Voters line up at a polling station on Election Day in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nov. 3, 2020.“[There is] no indication of any sort of malicious cyber activity,” said a second senior CISA official, who also spoke but only on the condition of anonymity.  
 
He described the issues as “typical challenges with election technology.”
 
“With hundreds of thousands of polling places, you’re going to have some,” the official added.
 
Still, U.S. election security officials warned Americans to remain vigilant, cautioning U.S. adversaries like Russia, China and Iran, may be waiting until the polls close to launch more serious attacks.
 
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” said CISA Director Christopher Krebs.
 
“Today in some sense is halftime. There may be other events or activities or efforts to interfere and undermine confidence in the election,” he said. “So, I ask all Americans to be patient, to treat all sensational claims with skepticism.”
 
Counterintelligence officials have been especially concerned about ongoing influence operations, warning that Russia, China and Iran in particular, have been actively targeting Americans, trying to play up existing political divisions and foster distrust in the election process.
 
Officials also charge all three countries with trying to impact the outcome of the U.S. presidential race, trying to boost or harm the candidacies of President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden.Official: US Adversaries Taking Sides, Wielding Influence Ahead of Election  US counterintelligence officials, splitting with President Trump, warn Russian-linked actors are pulling for his reelection as China and Iran aim to put Democrat Joe Biden in the White HouseBut they also say as many as 30 countries have sought to influence the election, a list that includes U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and adversaries like Cuba and Venezuela.US Bracing for Attacks Before and After Election Day Counterintelligence and security officials warn voters attempts to meddle will come in various shapes, forms and will not end once polls closeAs of early Tuesday, officials said they were aware of at least one disinformation campaign targeting Chinese American voters and were working with other government agencies and social media companies to address it.
 According to nonprofit investigative website ProPublica, at least two dozen groups on the Chinese-owned social media app WeChat were trying to intimidate voters by spreading rumors that U.S. officials were going to mobilize troops to put down impending riots.