AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Maine’s election systems were not targeted as part of a string of cyber-intrusion attempts during the 2016 General Election, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed Friday.
Early this summer, DHS officials announced that 21 states’ elections systems were targeted during the 2016 General Election, but did not confirm publicly which states those were. DHS did not directly notify chief election officials of their state’s status until Friday.
“We are very confident in the security of our elections systems here in Maine,” said Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, “and pleased to finally have confirmation that we were not among the 21 states that were targeted in 2016. I will continue to advocate for immediate notification from DHS in the event of any future attempts on our election systems, so we can respond appropriately to threats as they arise.”
Voters in Maine use paper ballots, counted by tabulator machines in the larger municipalities. Those machines, as well as the computers used to create the ballots, are not connected to the internet. The Central Voter Registration database is the only part of the system accessible via the internet, the secretary's office says, and it's protected by user passwords, a firewall and regular monitoring by in-house cybersecurity staff.
DHS officials confirmed this week that the 21 instances of scanning and attempted breaches of state election systems are linked to Russian hackers. The majority of the efforts found by DHS were scanning, but not breaches, and DHS officials stressed that there was “no evidence of any impact to voting anywhere.”