Responding to a report that 39 state election systems were targeted by cyberattacks during the 2016 elections, Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos said Tuesday that state officials aren’t aware of any evidence that Vermont’s elections systems were targeted.
Bloomberg, citing a single unnamed source “with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter,” reported that “Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states” in an effort to compromise the integrity of the 2016 election.
Condos said he participated in a phone call on Monday, the day before the Bloomberg story ran, with officials at the Department of Homeland Security and he said DHS told state officials from more than half of states that “if we [at DHS] understand that states are in danger, we will contact you to let you know.”
Condos said Vermont officials haven’t received any information from the federal government indicating interference in the state’s elections. He also said the state has measures in place to prevent digital manipulation of elections.
The state’s voter registration database does not allow any changes to be made without manual approval from the relevant town clerk, Condos said, which would prevent hackers from unilaterally changing the voter registration database without any Vermont officials noticing. Condos said town clerks around the state have been asked to watch out for anything suspicious.
Another key feature that Condos says protects the integrity of Vermont elections is decidedly low-tech: paper ballots.
Condos says the use of paper ballots creates an “audit trail” that would allow officials to double-check election results if questions emerge about the integrity of a given election. He said all ballots are securely stored for 22 months after election day.