More than 15 months after a general election that was stained by covert Russian interference, the chief election officials of some states say they are still not getting the information they need to safeguard the vote. They say the federal government is not sharing specifics about threats to registered voter databases, voting machines, communication networks and other systems that could be vulnerable to hacking and manipulation. In some cases, the election officials say they have no legal access to the information: After a year of effort, only 21 of them have received clearance to review classified federal information on election threats. Top federal officials have promised to do better. Still, some leaders worry that there will not be enough time to protect the integrity of the midterm election season, which will kick off in some states in the next few weeks. “It’s not about 2020, it’s not about November 2018 — it’s about primaries that are upon us now,” said Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state.
The state officials expressed their unhappiness at a meeting of the National Organization of Secretaries of State that ended on Monday. The officials from Washington, West Virginia and other states complained openly about the quality and speed of federal cooperation.
Their worries were underscored by the indictment of 13 Russians last week in connection with an elaborate online campaign to boost Donald J. Trump’s candidacy in 2016 and to demonize Hillary Clinton. Hours after the indictment was announced, President Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, said it was “incontrovertible” that Moscow was engaging in a campaign of “disinformation, subversion and espionage” that he said Washington would continue to expose.