Connecticut targeted by Russians in 2016 election

The House Intelligence Committee meets in a secure room and behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 in Washington. Officials from Twitter are on Capitol Hill for meetings as part of the House and Senate investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Connecticut was among twenty-one states targeted by Russian hackers in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election, according to a statement released last Friday by Connecticut’s Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill.

Connecticut as well as Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Texas and others were alerted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that IP addresses attributed to Russian agents were detected trying to access voter registration logs, according to a testimony by former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Merrill did not elaborate on the attempted hack, but instead reiterated her confidence in the information technology security of her office. It is unclear to what extent the Russian agents were trying to influence the outcome of the election.

“I am happy to report… that DHS confirmed that the attempted Russian intrusion into our online voter registration database was stopped by our intrusion detection system,” Merrill said.

Communications Director for the Secretary of the State Gabe Rosenberg dispelled any fears of voter disenfranchisement

“The firewall blocked the hackers before they were able to access the voter registration lists,” Rosenberg said.

He went on to explain how any change in the online voter registration system would not cause a direct change to the voter registration list, but would rather “spit out a paper copy of the changes to each precinct.”

While the attempted hacking had no affect on the election, Merrill voiced support for a Congressional investigation into the attempted intrusion.

“It is clear that Congress needs to act swiftly, both to investigate and publicize Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election,” Merrill said. “This successful defense of the integrity of our online voter registration system is good news for Connecticut, but it underlines the threat posed by foreign agents seeking to disrupt U.S. elections and sow the seeds of doubt in the integrity of our electoral process.”

As for fearful students, Communications Director Rosenberg stated, “There is no disenfranchisement to worry about because the Russians were unsuccessful in their intrusion.”


Andrew Miano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at andrew.miano@uconn.edu.