Homeland Security to test Durham County election computers for hacking

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WNCN) — More than two years after a 2016 Election Day technical failure, federal computer sleuths will scour North Carolina polling equipment supplied by a company targeted by Russian military intelligence.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday that it will analyze laptops and replicated computer hard drives used in heavily Democratic Durham County to rule out hacking for malfunctions that forced officials to issue paper ballots and extend voting hours.

DHS is acting after North Carolina elections officials last week renewed their long-dormant request.

State and local officials said previously that they found no indication the election software vendor VR Systems used for voter registration and check-in were targeted by hackers. But they never did forensic probes.

“We appreciate the Department of Homeland Security’s willingness to make this a priority so the lingering questions from 2016 can be addressed in advance of 2020,” said Karen Brinson Bell, the newly appointed executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We will continue to work closely with Homeland Security and other county, state and federal partners to ensure North Carolina voters are confident in our elections.”

Russian agents targeted state and local elections officials using VR Systems products with malicious emails.

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