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State Election Commission Reports 150,000 Attempts to Penetrate Systems on Election Day

by Countable | 7.17.17

What’s the story?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the South Carolina State Election Commission reports that there were 150,000 attempts to penetrate the Election Commission’s voter registration databases on November 8, 2016, the day of the presidential election.

Why does it matter?

The number of attempts in South Carolina, where Donald Trump won handily with 54.9 percent of the vote, doesn’t even compare to contested states, like Illinois. According to an Aug. 26, 2016, report by Illinois’ state computer staff, hackers were hitting the State Board of Elections "5 times per second, 24 hours per day" from late June until Aug. 12, 2016. The Journal reports that 90,000 voter records were successfully accessed in Illinois. However, no individual records were accessed in South Carolina.

The Charleston Post and Courier quotes Executive Director Marci Andino of the South Carolina State Election Commission as stating, that the numbers alone don’t tell the whole story, and contends that hackers might not be solely at fault. She told the paper that, "the system classifies issues such as accessing scvotes.org through Windows XP or incorrectly entering information when looking for a polling place as a "rejected attempt."

She did not tell the paper how many of the "attempts" were likely from actual hackers as opposed to “bad traffic”.

Chris Whitmire, the South Carolina State Election Commission’s director of public information and training told the Journal that "most of the attempted intrusions in that state likely came from automated computer bots, not thousands of individual hackers."

The Department of Homeland Security was called in by South Carolina officials in September of 2016 to scan the election systems for vulnerabilities. The scans found 55 vulnerabilities, and twenty-five days passed before all but one of the vulnerabilities were addressed.

"I would tell you: up to three weeks to patch a vulnerability, that’s too long," said Curtis Dukes, who was Director of the National Security Agency’s Information Assurance Directorate until January, to the Journal.

What can you do?

Are you concerned about election security? Do you have confidence in your state’s election systems? Are you satisfied with the federal government’s response to these state reports? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey via Flickr / Creative Commons )

Countable

Written by Countable

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(57)
  • Ken
    07/17/2017
    ···

    I can't think of a better way to sabotage elections. Did my vote count. Did my vote count for the candidate I chose. I remember the 2000 election in Florida. Hanging chad. Al Gore actually won Florida after months of investigating. He should have been president. Instead we had 911 and a 17 year war that's still going. What about the 2016 election? What new war will be next? What will this administration do this time? I don't think I'm the only cocerned citizen. Does a republican congress have what it takes to keep us out of war. I can only pray they do!

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  • Patty
    07/18/2017
    ···

    Russia did indeed try to hack this election - from bots, to targeted fake news, to hacking the DNCs email, and apparently election commissions. TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY. Don't shrug your shoulder and pretend this did not happen. Be an AMERICAN first before being a republican. This election is coming close to needing to be vacated and a paper ballot cast again. Stop the defunding of all departments and groups that are attempting to get to the bottom of this and strengthen our defensives against this enemy of the United States and make NO MISTAKE Russia is our enemy. Do the right thing. We are watching.

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  • KansasTamale
    07/18/2017
    ···

    This is why the investigation into vote tampering is a MUST. JUST BECAUSE THE TAMPERING FAVORED THE REPUBLICANS doesn't mean it shouldn't be investigated. If you can't stand up for investigation then you better look at your patriotism.

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  • NoHedges
    07/17/2017
    ···

    There are many ways that we could improve our election process and I would say citizen based tampering is only a drop in the bucket. Represent.us Anticorruption Act lists several ways including: voter ranking, redistricting, full voter participation in the primaries, and changing how elections are funded. Moreover, if Trump truly wanted to drain the swamp like he promised, it would take him all of 2 minutes to sign the executive order anti corruption act. But he doesn't. Why? Because Trump doesn't believe America can make it and he is ready, willing, and eager to offload what he believes is extra baggage which he estimates is anywhere from 10-40% of US citizens. Similarly, there are about 50 senators and 200 legislators in congress who also don't think America can make it either. They are all going into survivalist mode, now do you see why Trump thinks medical is a luxury and public schools aren't sustainable?

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  • Al
    07/17/2017
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    Why is it we can't know WHO? Is it because it's Russia helping Republicans?

    Like (9)
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  • Becka
    07/18/2017
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    Stop the election fraud! Let's get back to paper ballots that can be backed up!

    Like (8)
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  • Norm
    07/18/2017
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    Regardless of party affiliation I would hope you're extremely in no uncertain terms angry that the Russians invaded our shore's via cyber security attacks. Regarding the lack of support by the Donald Trump administration is...........(you fill in the blank,) and unamerican. We are not the Ruskies buddies.

    Like (6)
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  • L0u15e.N032L
    07/18/2017
    ···

    We need to ensure our election process and voting process are highly protected. Nothing else can protect election integrity and our democracy. Can we have a bipartisan effort for funding to protect elections?

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  • Sean
    07/18/2017
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    Clearly electronic voting is vulnerable. No one with certainty can say Trump, or any candidate in his camp is legitimate after last November given mounting evidence pointing to Russian hacking. Paper ballots are an alternative albeit somewhat analog. Steps must be taken to ensure the legitimacy of elections and those elected.

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  • Richard
    07/18/2017
    ···

    Please do all you can as representatives to make sure that The electoral process is secure. I am very upset by the Trump Regimes "non response" to all the attempted hacking of the process during the last election by state sponsored actors and other groups. This is a bipartisan issue - it's good to investigate but you also need to act in a way that does not increase voter suppression .

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  • Christopher
    07/18/2017
    ···

    The right to vote and to know that your vote is properly counted is the foundation of our democracy. All efforts to ensure the integrity of the voting process must be taken, which means that our votes must be protected from hackers who wish to undermine our faith in democracy by either changing or erasing our votes. This cannot stand. We must do everything possible to prevent anyone or any entity from hacking into our voting system.

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  • Vanessa
    07/18/2017
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    Put your x on a piece of paper....

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  • JayFeat
    07/18/2017
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    Maybe next time instead of spending so much money on a defence budget we can divert it into cyber security, something that actually will protect our democracy.

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  • August
    07/17/2017
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    We need a good security review of our election process now. Fair elections are the bases for any democracy. Does Congress realize that it could take just one disputed election to collapse our system of government. History is littered with governments that thought they were to smart to let to let that happen. If you love our country, I implore you to do something now!

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  • Linda
    07/19/2017
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    Fix election tampering and hold the Trump family and Preibus, Ryan, Mcconnell, and others accountable for willingness to collude with Russia. America has woken up to what is going on.

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  • Diane
    07/18/2017
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    IMPEACH trump NOW.

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  • Jfreer
    07/18/2017
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    Will you and the rest of the Congress look into this story from SC about 150,000 attempts on Election Day to break into the voting system?

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  • Bluewitsend
    07/18/2017
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    We must know if any of these hacking attempts were successful. Investigations must be continued and the truth must be found out. We are being attacked on many levels and our country is in jeopardy.

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  • Ed
    07/18/2017
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    The President says Not enough proof. This cannot be so. He says it is not. Therefore must be Fake News. But then all Truth is Fake in this administration. Of course this is supported by his puppets The Republican

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  • M
    07/18/2017
    ···

    Russia interfered & the Meeting with Trump Jr was likely an overture to determine the Trump camp's willingness to collide with Russian. It was part of the trail of bait leading up to a trap. Trump jr took the bait willingly and gleefully. How bad and how blatant does it have to get before our representatives do their job and protect Americans from the rot in the White House?!!

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