Riverside County may have been a proving ground for Russian hackers intent on disrupting the 2016 presidential election, according to a cover story in Time magazine. But the county’s registrar of voters is disputing Time’s account, saying the article “contained some incorrect information and may have, in some people’s minds, mischaracterized questions about voters who said their registrations had been improperly changed for elections in 2016.” The July 19 article, “Inside the Secret Plan to Stop Vladimir Putin’s U.S. Election Plot,” describes Russian attempts to hack into more election systems nationwide and an Obama administration plan to respond to an Election Day cyber attack.
In October, the Obama administration accused Russia of hacking the Democratic National Committee to interfere with the November presidential election. The Time article discussed U.S. officials’ fears that through cyber attacks, Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to undermine Americans’ faith in the electoral process.
In July 2016 – about a month after California’s primary – Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin announced a number of voters had their party affiliations switched without their knowledge or consent through the state’s online voter registration database using voters’ personal information.