When top intelligence officials went to Capitol Hill one morning this week to give House members a classified briefing on the security of the upcoming elections, only 40 or so bothered to show up. In other words, 9 out of 10 lawmakers thought they had better things to do than listen to an assessment of threats to the integrity of a closely contested midterm that is less than six months away. “Well, it was at 8 o’clock,” Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) said.
The handful who attended did not come away reassured that much is being done to harden defenses and prevent a repeat of what happened in 2016, when Russian hackers made an effort to infiltrate voter-registration files and balloting sites in 21 states.
Elections are handled with varying degrees of competence and sophistication by states and counties, using a wide array of mechanisms for keeping track of who is registered to vote and how their ballots are counted. Many are connected, in some way, to the Internet.