DHS: Half of U.S. States Seeking Federal Help to Stop Election Hackers

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson Tuesday
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson / AP
October 6, 2016

Half of the states in the country have sought help from the Obama administration in efforts to stop potential election hackers, Politico reports.

According to an official from the Department of Homeland Security, 25 states have reached out for federal aid, and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said he hopes more will seek assistance. A DHS official reportedly confirmed last week that hackers were detected trying to get into state voter registration systems in more than 20 states

Federal and state election officials insist the country’s balloting is secure from a widespread hacking attack–they note the diverse nature of 50 different state jurisdictions, plus thousands more at the county and local level. In addition, voting itself doesn’t involve any connections to the internet, officials insist.

But weaknesses do exist across the system, too. A DHS official last week confirmed that hackers had been detected seriously probing into state voter registration systems in more than 20 states, and they actually had varying degrees of success getting into the rolls in Arizona and Illinois.

Hackers have played a surprisingly large role in the U.S. election, such as the cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, which officials believe were perpetrated by groups connected to the Russian government.