A U.S. Department of Homeland Security team is in Maryland this week to evaluate the state’s election systems after officials learned last month about a transaction between a venture fund with Russian ties and a company involved in the state’s election infrastructure, Maryland’s elections administrator said Tuesday. The Hunt and Incident Response Team from the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center is checking to ensure the election systems hosted by ByteGrid remain secure. “They’re evaluating whether or not there’s any issues with ByteGrid,” said Linda Lamone, the state’s elections administrator. Gov. Larry Hogan, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch asked for the technical assistance to evaluate the network last month.
ByteGrid did not disclose to state officials that it is financed by AltPoint Capital Partners, whose largest investor is a Russian oligarch named Vladimir Potanin, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. ByteGrid hosts Maryland’s voter registration system, candidacy and election management system. It also hosts the state’s online ballot delivery system and unofficial election night results website.
ByteGrid has said the company’s investors have no involvement or control in company operations.
The FBI briefed state officials about the Russian ties to the company last month and said agents did not believe the state’s elections systems had been breached or any crimes had been committed.