The federal government has not notified U.S. state election officials if their voting systems were targeted by suspected Russian hackers during the 2016 presidential campaign, and the information will likely never be made public, a top state election chief told Reuters. “You’re absolutely never going to learn it, because we don’t even know it,” Judd Choate, state election director for Colorado and president of the National Association of State Election Directors, said in an interview on Thursday during the group’s summer conference. Nearly 10 months after Republican Donald Trump’s upset presidential victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, Choate said he had not spoken to a single state election director who had been told by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security if their state was among those attacked. The lack of information-sharing on the election breaches reflects the difficulty state and federal officials have had in working together to protect U.S. voting from cyber threats. All U.S. elections are run by state and local governments, which have varying degrees of technical competence.
DHS told Congress in June that 21 states were targeted during the 2016 presidential race, and that while a small number were breached, there was no evidence any votes were manipulated.
Other reports have said 39 states were targeted. Choate said he had heard both numbers mentioned.
Several lawmakers, including Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, have expressed frustration at DHS’ refusal to identify which states had been targeted. Arizona and Illinois confirmed last year that hackers had targeted their voter registration systems.