NC officials investigate attempts to compromise election records in 21 counties


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — State officials are investigating reports that someone tried to compromise electronic election records in 21 North Carolina counties.

“The agency’s cyber partnership with the Department of Homeland Security and post-election audits by the state and county boards of elections are among the many ways North Carolina protects election data and ensures accurate results,” said Kim Westbrook Strach, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement, in a news release.

The software is produced by VR Systems.

A leaked NSA report detailing a Russian cyber attack against American voting software in August referenced VR Systems several times, according to an account in The Intercept.

The software is used as an electronic poll book in 21 of the state’s 100 counties to help check in voters on Election Day, she said.

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“The software is not used during early voting and does not play any role in ballot marking or vote tabulation,” Strach said.

The NSA report was first published by The Intercept on Monday. The Intercept referenced the issues with the registration system in Durham County on Election Day. That led to long lines at some precincts as well as the extension of voting hours.

County election officials say they don’t believe those issues were the result of a cyberattack. Rather, they believe that was the result of human error from the time the computers were set up to the time poll workers used them.

“But, we take every precaution and we continue to take precautions to ensure the accuracy and confidence of the vote,” said Derek Bowens, director of the Durham County Board of Elections.

Franklin County elections director Lisa Goswick said she did not recall any issues on Election Day with the software.

She said she just learned of the investigation when the NC Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement issued a news release about it Tuesday afternoon. Goswick said the system has been used for four years and “has worked perfectly for our county.”

The counties being investigated are:

  • Ashe
  • Cabarrus
  • Cleveland
  • Craven
  • Cumberland
  • Durham
  • Edgecombe
  • Franklin
  • Gaston
  • Gates
  • Granville
  • Halifax
  • Hyde
  • Johnson
  • Mecklenburg
  • Nash
  • Rowan
  • Sampson
  • Vance
  • Warren
  • Wilson

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