DHS inspecting North Carolina election equipment amid fears Russia hacked it during 2016 election

DHS inspecting North Carolina election equipment amid fears Russia hacked it during 2016 election

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will examine the equipment used in a North Carolina county during the 2016 election that was supplied by a company whose system was later discovered to have been attacked by Russian hackers.

NPR reports that the inspection comes three years after laptops used to check in voters in Durham County malfunctioned on Election Day in 2016. The faulty laptops reportedly told people they had already voted that day, even though that was not the case.

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Election officials stopped using the laptops and switched to paper poll books to ensure voters could cast their ballots without further issues.

Florida-based VR Systems, the vendor that supplied the equipment, was discovered in 2017 to be a target of Russian attempts to interfere in U.S. elections, prompting fresh concern over the malfunctioning equipment.

Now, DHS will inspect the equipment as it seeks to better understand the extent of Russia’s interference efforts.

“The North Carolina State Board of Elections has been an engaged and valued partner with DHS, taking advantage of services ranging from routine scans to in-depth assessments of their networks," DHS spokeswoman Sara Sendek told The Hill in a statement. 

"DHS is also working with the State Board to analyze the laptops used in Durham County elections in 2016. This support may help to provide a better understanding of previous issues and help to secure the 2020 elections. DHS has no information that there is any previous or ongoing issues regarding election systems in the state of North Carolina and all services are being provided in a proactive manner at the request of the state," Sendek added.

The news of DHS’s full inspection comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisDeath and destruction: A timeline of Hurricane Dorian How to take politics beyond charges of racism South Carolina gov declares state of emergency after Dorian shifts course MORE (R) said the FBI notified him that Russians successfully infiltrated two county election systems during the 2016 election.

Additionally, according to NPR, special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal MORE’s report found that Russians were able to successfully install malware in the network of a company thought to be VR Systems. The company has reportedly denied the Russians were successful in their efforts, though it acknowledged they made an attempt.

Durham County initially came to the conclusion following its own investigation in 2016 that the malfunction was likely caused by a human error.

Updated: 3:54 p.m.