Michigan denies hack after public voter information found on Russian online forum

Michigan’s Department of State denied on Tuesday it had been the victim of a data breach after voter information surfaced on a Russian hackers’ platform.

“Public voter information in Michigan and elsewhere is accessible to anyone through a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request,” the department said in a statement. “Our system has not been hacked.”

“We encourage all Michigan voters to be wary of attempts to ‘hack’ their minds, however, by questioning the sources of information and advertisements they encounter and seeking out trusted sources, including their local election clerk and our office,” the state agency added. “If voters suspect misinformation, they should report it to”

The department issued the statement in response to a post on Twitter from GQ correspondent Julia Ioffe, who tweeted a link to the Russian newspaper Kommersant.

“Russian journalists have discovered data from Michigan voter data rolls—including the personal info of 7.6 million Michigan voters—on a Russian hackers’ platform. It also includes voter info from other swing states, including Florida and NC,” she tweeted.

In a follow-up tweet, she noted that while the information was publicly available, “it’s just unclear what these hackers are using it for, other than scamming the State Department.”

A bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report last year indicated Russian intelligence targeted election infrastructure in all 50 states to some extent in 2016.

Michigan is a crucial battleground state for November. President Trump won the state by just under 11,000 votes four years ago. The FiveThirtyEight average of polls indicates Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds a 7 percentage point lead in the state.

Tags 2020 election battleground state Data breach Donald Trump Election Security Hack Joe Biden Michigan
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