After a leaked National Security Agency document alleged Russian operatives attempted to hack into a Florida voter polling software company used by Humboldt County in the 2016 presidential election, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla sent a letter to the federal agency Thursday questioning why the state was not notified earlier. “As the chief elections officer in the most populous state in the nation, I am seriously concerned about the NSA’s failure to provide timely and critical information to America’s elections officials,” Padilla wrote to NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers. “… We must be prepared and remain vigilant. Proper preparation requires clear and consistent collaboration among federal, state, and local officials. The NSA cannot afford to sit on critical information that could be used to defend against cyber-attacks.”
The five-page classified National Security Agency memo from May that was leaked to the news website The Intercept stated Russia’s military intelligence unit, the GRU, hacked into the Florida-based voting software company, VR Systems, in August 2016. VR Systems provided voter polling software to Hart InterCivic, which the Humboldt County Elections Office contracted with to provide voter e-polling software.
County officials said that there is no evidence that the hacking attempts were successful or that Humboldt County was a target, and that the e-polling software is not involved in vote counting.
Humboldt County is the only county in the state that contracted through VR Systems, according to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.