Russian hackers hit voting systems in 39 U.S. states

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Chad Brayton, of Lorimor, Iowa, left, emerges from a voting booth, in Macksburg, Iowa.
Chad Brayton, of Lorimor, Iowa, left, emerges from a voting booth, in Macksburg, Iowa.

Image: STEVEN SENNE/AP/REX/Shutterstock

The known scope of the Russian government’s attack on the United State’s election integrity continues to grow. 

Kremlin-backed hackers hit voting systems in 39 states, according to Bloomberg

Those attacks included attempts to break into poll worker software on Nov. 8, the day of the 2016 presidential election, as well as attempts to erase voter information. Russian government hackers even got their hands on a trove of campaign finance information in one state, according to the report. 

Despite all this, the report and intelligence officials have insisted there is no evidence hackers altered vote totals. The reasons for that are debatable, but it’s very possible that — despite the effort and level of intrusion — the U.S.’s vast array of voting systems was too multi-faceted to directly undermine. 

Of course, hackers don’t necessarily have to change voting totals to alter the outcome of an election. U.S. officials have accused the Kremlin and Russian media outlets of orchestrating disinformation campaigns aimed at undermining Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and Russian government-backed hacks of Democratic Party organizations coincided with the leaking of information from those hacks in a way that undermined Clinton’s candidacy.

The degree to which all this altered the outcome of the 2016 presidential election remains up for debate, but it’s clear the Kremlin wanted to sow doubts about the integrity of the U.S. electoral system.

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