Wisconsin Elections Commission, state leaders react to alleged Russian hacking

Wisconsin Elections Commission, state leaders react to alleged Russian hacking

The Wisconsin Elections Commission wants to reassure voters that their information is secure.

A new report from NBC News alleges that Wisconsin was one of seven states successfully compromised prior to the 2016 election.

“This seems to be either old news or incorrect news,” Michael Haas, administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said of the report.

NBC News cited three senior intelligence officials, who said Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin were all targeted.

In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security informed 21 states, including Wisconsin, they were targeted by Russian operatives. At the time, federal officials acknowledged that a number of the attempts were successful but did not say in which states.

Haas said people who are heading to polls in Wisconsin in April and November should not be worried.

“Wisconsin voters should be confident that we’re protecting our systems, the voter registration system, the poll list as well as the voting equipment and the election results,” Haas said.

Top state leaders are reacting to the report, as well.

“Governor Walker has confidence in our elections and the work that our state does every day to uphold the integrity of our elections,” said Amy Hasenberg, a spokesperson for Gov. Scott Walker.

Sen. Jennifer Shilling, the Democratic leader of the state Senate, said candidates, voters and clerks need to know the elections system is free from “outside interests who may have ulterior motives.”

Haas said after NBC News contacted his office, he verified that there was no new evidence of hacking with federal officials.

“The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that there was no new information to share and that there were no new attempts to scan Wisconsin’s elections systems other than what had been reported last year,” he said.

He said each year the state’s Division of Enterprise Technology blocks 9 million incidents in which people may be attempting to scan state systems.

“Like any large organization, our IT applications can be the target of scanners or hackers,” he said.