California’s elections agency announced that there is no evidence that the state’s voter registration databases had been targeted by the foreign hackers who reportedly infiltrated elections systems in Arizona and Illinois. Yahoo News reported Monday that personal voter registration information for up to 200,000 people at the Illinois Board of Elections had been downloaded by foreign hackers. The FBI issued an alert early this month warning state elections officials about the data breach, according to the Yahoo report. A spokesman for California secretary of state said the agency, which oversees elections statewide, was aware of the cyber attack reports. “We have no evidence of any breaches or hacks of our system,” agency spokesman Sam Mahood said. Mahood declined to say whether any extra precautions are being taken, saying the agency does not disclose its security protocols. The secretary of state’s website has been down most of Monday but Mahood said that was not caused by a hack or breach. Unlike some other states, California counties have maintained their own databases of registered voters. However, the secretary of state’s office is in the process of centralizing voter registration information in a statewide VoteCal database, which is expected to be operational in September.
Dean Logan, registrar of voters in Los Angeles County, said the county has a cyber-security unit and outside contractors that constantly monitor all potential threats to the agency’s systems. “I think that we just live in a time where we have to be really vigilant on this,” Logan said.
Logan emphasized the computer system that scans and counts votes is separate from the voter registration database and is not connected to the Internet or any other outside computers, insulating the system from hackers. That computer system also is housed in a secure facility, he said.
However, Logan said Los Angeles County’s voter registration database is connected to the secretary of state’s computer system, which is why the reports in Illinois and Arizona are so concerning, he said. “We have been looking at this in conjunction with the larger political dialog about the security of elections system and with the presidential election,” Logan said.