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Digital Interference Didn’t Occur in Midterm Elections, Experts Say

No instances of digital interference are known to have affected the counting of the midterm vote after a tense Election Day in which officials were closely monitoring domestic and foreign threats. A few state and local governments appeared to be hit by a rudimentary form of cyberattack that periodically made public websites unreachable. Federal and local officials said Wednesday that none breached vote-counting infrastructure, the Associated Press reports. “We have seen no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was any way compromised in any race in the country,” said Jen Easterly, director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency. CISA and other federal agencies had warned that safeguarding U.S. elections has become more complex than ever, with the most serious threats from domestic sources.

Foreign adversaries including Russia, China, and Iran have tried to meddle in individual campaigns and amplify false or misleading narratives on social media. Many members of an increasingly fractious U.S. public have latched onto unproved conspiracies about voter fraud. There are constant fears that state-sponsored intruders or criminals might try to interfere with voter rolls or steal data for ransom. Also of concern are increasing physical and online threats to election workers. The website of Mississippi’s secretary of state was down for part of Tuesday and there were other reports of sites becoming unreachable, including in Champaign County, I., and parts of Arkansas. Mississippi was hit with a “distributed denial of service,” in which a website is made unreachable by a flood of inauthentic traffic.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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