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NC elections officials investigate alleged Russian hacking efforts

Posted June 6

— North Carolina elections officials said Tuesday that they are "actively investigating" reports that Russian hackers attacked a U.S. voting software supplier days before last year's presidential election.

The allegation came to light Monday after digital magazine The Intercept published a classified National Security Agency report that says Russian military intelligence attacked a U.S. voting software company and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials at the end of October or beginning of November.

"This agency takes any reports of possible interference with our election processes very seriously," North Carolina elections director Kim Strach said in a statement.

The State Board of Elections identified the software company as VR Systems, which provides electronic poll book software to 21 counties to help check in voters who show up to cast ballots in person on Election Day.

The counties that use the system are Ashe, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Craven, Cumberland, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Gaston, Gates, Granville, Halifax, Hyde, Johnston, Mecklenburg, Nash, Rowan, Sampson, Vance, Warren and Wilson.

Some Durham County precincts experienced problems last November with their electronic sign-in system and had to revert to signing voters in through paper poll books, forcing some to stay open late because of delays. It's unclear whether those issues are linked to the alleged hacking.

Strach said the software doesn't play any role in ballot marking or vote tabulation.

"So, in no way, even if this attack was successful by Russia, was this affecting the outcome of our election," said state Board of Elections spokesman Joshua Lawson. "So, It's important for people to realize that they can have confidence that their votes counted.

Lawson said that even though 21 North Carolina counties used the VR Systems software, there is no evidence their systems were compromised.

12 Comments

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  • Rick Edwards Jun 8, 5:21 a.m.
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    Crooked registrars had more effect than the Russians.
    We always here that is no voter fraud, but every election you hear about registration fraud.
    Didn't WRAL just run a story about a woman being arrested for tampering with the registration process in NC?

  • John Archer Jun 7, 3:22 p.m.
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    I will NEVER understand why people get so bent out of shape about fair elections. The right to vote is in the Constitution. How is that so hard to understand? As for the tampering investigation, hacking and changing voter registration information directly affects people's right to vote. If any one of you walks up to your polling place to vote, and are told you're not registered, you'll scream and hollar about it. Well, that's what apparently happened to millions of people around the country. Just because it wasn't you personally, doesn't mean it shouldn't be investigated. And it doesn't matter if it's a federal election, the votes are tabulated BY STATE, because Electoral College, remember?

  • John Jones Jun 7, 2:18 p.m.
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    D*mn Russians...lol

  • Rhonda Arthur Jun 7, 10:00 a.m.
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    View quoted thread


    . Yep. They're STILL trying to figure out why they lost.

  • Robert Swiger Sr. Jun 7, 8:47 a.m.
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    Liberals still hunting

  • Ian Jones Jun 7, 7:15 a.m.
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    View quoted thread


    . What don't you get about the US Constitution? There are no federal elections. The US government does not own a single voting machine nor did they run a single polling location in November 2016. Elections are indeed state run and thus states can and do (and should) investigate irregularities in elections.

  • Henry Cooper Jun 6, 10:07 p.m.
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    Yes but this is still a Federal election issue. They re not claiming tampering with State elections. States have not jurisdiction to force anything from an investigative point for a Federal election. Nothing can come of anything they do (or most likely don't) find. It would have to go to the same Federal review it is currently under.

    Next, The elections boards should be doing manual spot audits for registrations, at least you would think. You don't have to check them all if they know you are checking some. That is an auditing technique that is proven to be effective.

  • Ian Jones Jun 6, 8:48 p.m.
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    See: US Constitution Article II, Section 1, Clause 2.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_Two_of_the_United_States_Constitution#Clause_3:_Electors
    All elections are state elections.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_Two_of_the_United_States_Constitution#Clause_3:_Electors
    Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

  • Ian Jones Jun 6, 8:44 p.m.
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    Because voters have to be confirmed they are in the poll book in order to vote. If Russia tampered with the poll book, voters may be turned away at the polls or simply leave before voting when the process slows down and the wait to vote becomes too long.

  • Ian Jones Jun 6, 8:41 p.m.
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