Md. election officials seek to calm voters after election-hacking indictment

WASHINGTON — Maryland officials are seeking to reassure voters after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers on charges of interfering in the process of the 2016 election.

In announcing the indictment, Rosenstein said, “Russian GRU officers hacked the website of a state election board and stole information about 500,000 voters. They also hacked into computers of a company that supplied software used to verify voter registration information.”

They also targeted state and local officials involved in administrating elections, he said.

In a statement Friday afternoon, the Maryland State Board of Elections said, “We want to assure Maryland voters that Maryland’s State Board of Elections was not the state election office” Rosenstein mentioned.

The board did say, however, that the vendor the state uses to host various election system was bought by a firm headed by Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin.

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“In response to this information, we have been working with various federal and state officials to ensure that voter data and our election systems are secure,” the board said in the statement.

The board added that the FBI “did not state that there was evidence of any breach or fraudulent transactions, but we must act immediately to confirm that this is the case.”

They are continuing to work with federal and state agencies to “secure the systems and data before the 2018 general election.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement, “While the information relayed to us did not indicate that any wrongdoing or criminal acts have been discovered, we are fast approaching an election in November, and even the appearance of the potential for bad actors to have any influence on our election infrastructure could undermine public trust in the integrity of our election system. That is why it is imperative that the State Board of Elections take immediate and comprehensive action to evaluate the security of our system and take any and all necessary steps to address any vulnerabilities.”

Hogan, Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch jointly sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for technical assistance in evaluating the state’s systems.

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