With unanimity, both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and urged their congressional colleagues to help states upgrade their balloting systems to ensure the integrity of November’s midterm elections. California was among the 21 states whose election systems Russia attempted to infiltrate, committee members said during a news conference outlining their recommendations to improve election security. Russia succeeded in penetrating the voter database of one state, Illinois, but the committee said it found no evidence that any votes were altered. The committee plans to issue a full report and has scheduled a hearing Wednesday with testimony from Trump administration officials and the heads of national associations of state election officials.
Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said the committee conducted an exhaustive examination of Russian efforts to probe state election systems. “It’s clear the Russian government was looking for vulnerabilities,” he said.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said the committee is recommending that states keep their balloting off the Internet and use paper-based systems.
“Look at where we are now in this year of our Lord 2018 — we’re talking about paper ballots,” Harris said. “That actually might be one of the smartest systems, going back to a day when we could have something tangible that we can hold onto, because Russia cannot hack a piece of paper like they can computer systems connected to the Internet.”