The Slatest

Seven State Websites or Voter Rolls Reportedly Hacked by Russian Operatives Prior to 2016 Election

 A voter exits a voting booth in a polling station at Hellgate Elementary School on May 25, 2017 in Missoula, Montana.
A voter exits a voting booth in a polling station at Hellgate Elementary School on May 25, 2017 in Missoula, Montana.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

We know American intelligence officials believe Russian-linked hackers targeted state voter rolls in as many as 39 states and even local voter registration officials, as part of its effort to interfere in the American elections in 2016. The Department of Homeland Security notified 21 states in September their election systems were targeted, but that in most cases they were not breached. NBC News reported Tuesday that the U.S. intelligence community had substantial evidence prior to the Nov. 2016 election indicating that seven states’ voter registration systems or websites were hacked by Russian-backed operatives, but that information was not passed on to state officials.

From NBC News:

Top-secret intelligence requested by President Barack Obama in his last weeks in office identified seven states where analysts — synthesizing months of work — had reason to believe Russian operatives had compromised state websites or databases. Three senior intelligence officials told NBC News that the intelligence community believed the states as of January 2017 were Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin…

NBC News reached out to all seven states that were compromised, as well as 14 additional states the Department of Homeland Security says were probed during the 2016 election. To this day, six of the seven states deny they were breached, based on their own cyber investigations. It’s a discrepancy that underscores how unprepared some experts think America is for the next wave of Russian interference that intelligence officials say is coming.

State and federal officials told NBC News that the intrusion did not impact how votes were cast or counted and did not affect individuals’ voter registration status.