Russia probed California and Riverside investigated potential double voting
Sacramento–A little more than a week ago, Secretary of State Alex Padilla recently announced his receipt of formal notification from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirming California was among 21 states targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 election cycle.
DHS advised Padilla, “Russian cyber actors scanned California’s Internet-facing systems in 2016. DHS confirmed that they have no evidence that any systems were penetrated or compromised in any way. Scanning is an unauthorized attempt to identify weaknesses in a computer or network – akin to a burglar looking for unlocked doors in a house.”
Padilla further stated, “Our office actively monitors scanning activity as part of our routine cyber security protocols. We have no information or evidence that our systems have been breached in any way or that any voter information was compromised.”
It was Padilla’s following statement that should raise alarm bells regarding the veracity of our national leadership: “We are concerned, however, that in June 2017, Jeanette Manfra, Acting Undersecretary for Cybersecurity and Communications at DHS, testified before the US Senate Intelligence Committee that ‘the owners of the systems within those 21 states have been notified.’ This was simply not true and DHS acknowledged they failed to contact us and ‘two or three’ other states.”
“Add to that the fact it took DHS more than a year to notify the impacted states, including California, the Russians were scanning their systems. The practice of withholding critical information from elections officials is a detriment to the security of our elections and our democracy,” Padilla added.
In June, Padilla notified the National Security Agency (NSA) in writing of how seriously concerned he was about the agency's failure to provide timely and critical information to America's elections officials. He stressed, “We shouldn’t have to learn about potential threats from leaked NSA documents or media reports. It is the intelligence community’s responsibility to inform elections officials of any potential threats to our elections. They failed in this responsibility.”
In the meantime, the Riverside County District Attorney’s (DA) office has failed to provide a full explanation regarding why it initiated search warrants over the summer to examine the voter records of more than 60 individuals. The effort was allegedly part of an investigation into possible illegal voting in 2016. Individuals for whom the warrants were issued supposedly voted more than once in the same election. Yet some election officials believe the warrants themselves were out of the ordinary. To date, no charges have been filed.
Last July, the DA reported it had investigated a few dozen complaints from voters who claimed their party affiliations were changed. However, during the same period, the County Registrar of voters reported only two such complaints. The DA found no evidence of wrongdoing.
The Voice will continue to follow this story.