No sign that Russians accessed NM voter systems

There’s no indication that New Mexico’s voter databases were improperly accessed, according to New Mexico’s secretary of state. This comes even as U.S. senators probed the issue in a hearing Wednesday morning. Wednesday morning, Jeanette Manfra, the acting undersecretary for cybersecurity and communications at DHS, told the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee that election systems in […]

No sign that Russians accessed NM voter systems

There’s no indication that New Mexico’s voter databases were improperly accessed, according to New Mexico’s secretary of state.

This comes even as U.S. senators probed the issue in a hearing Wednesday morning.

Wednesday morning, Jeanette Manfra, the acting undersecretary for cybersecurity and communications at DHS, told the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee that election systems in 21 states were targeted in a Russian cyber attack.

Manfra declined to say which states were targeted or what, if any, data was accessed by the hackers.

Jeh Johnson said that while interference by Russia “was unprecedented” in “scale and scope,” there was no indication that Russians changed any votes in 2016.

New Mexico hasn’t been contacted by any federal authority of any alleged breaches by Russia during the cycle, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver told NM Political Report.

“Secretary of State Toulouse Oliver considers election security a high priority, and she continues to work with federal agencies and other states to collaborate on best security practices and her office engages in regular security scans and testing,” an email from her office said last week.

While vote tallying was not attacked, New Mexico has an older-technology way of combatting that: full paper ballots. Ballots are filled out by hand and counted by optical scanner. Ballots can be hand-counted if needed.

Last week, reports indicated that Russian hackers breached voter databases and software systems in 39 states. The news came from investigators and a classified National Security Agency document obtained by The Intercept.

The Russian government denies it was involved, as it has denied it was involved in the hacking of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, the New Mexico Democrat who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, did not discuss the cyber intrusion into state election systems during his questioning.

Instead, Heinrich asked FBI Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division Bill Priestap about why Russia sought to interfere in elections and if the foreign power felt they were successful.

Priestap offered a nuanced answer about whether Russians believed their efforts were successful.

“In many ways, they might argue that because of the time and energy we’re spending on this topic, maybe it’s distracting us from other things,” he said. “But on the other hand, exactly what this committee is doing as far as raising awareness to their activities, their aims for the American people, to me they’ve done the American people a service in that regard.”

Later, Heinrich focused on statements by Donald Trump in 2016.

“By effectively reinforcing the Russian narrative and publicly saying that our system if rigged, did then-candidate Trump, now president-Trump become what intelligence officials call an unwitting agent?” Heinrich asked Priestap.

After a long pause—over five seconds—Priestap said he couldn’t comment on that.

“I don’t blame you for not answering that question,” Heinrich said, to laughter from those in attendance.

Update: Quotes originally attributed to Deputy Secretary of State John Blair are now attributed to Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Senators throw support to embattled Ivey-Soto

Senators throw support to embattled Ivey-Soto

By Justin Horwath, New Mexico In Dept Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto is running for a fourth term despite the state Democratic Party’s decision to censure…
AG announces legislative priorities for upcoming special session

AG announces legislative priorities for upcoming special session

Attorney General Raúl Torrez announced on Thursday his legislative priorities for July’s special legislative session, including the creation of a crime victim’s unit to…
Correa Hemphill to step down from legislature

Correa Hemphill to step down from legislature

State Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill, a Democrat from Silver City, won’t seek reelection in the general election in November, leaving SD 28, a swing…
EPA announces $18.9M in funding to address PFAS contamination in New Mexico

EPA announces $18.9M in funding to address PFAS contamination in New Mexico

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the New Mexico Environment Department nearly $19 million to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants in drinking water.…
Environmental historian reflects on the legacies of Aldo Leopold and the Gila Wilderness

Environmental historian reflects on the legacies of Aldo Leopold and the Gila Wilderness

One hundred years ago, conservationist Aldo Leopold proposed designating 500,000 acres of land in the Gila National Forest as an area where no roads…

A rare NM lizard is now listed as endangered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added the dunes sagebrush lizard to the list of endangered species on Friday and is expected to designate…
Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican The main things that bring Brayan Chavez to school every day: Seeing, talking to and engaging with…
Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican Brittany Behenna Griffith has a laundry list of adjectives to describe the ideal special education teacher:…
Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican A challenging task awaits New Mexico lawmakers in the next 30 days: Reconciling three very different…
Heinrich questions FDA leadership on baby formula safety, mifepristone

Heinrich questions FDA leadership on baby formula safety, mifepristone

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf answered questions about the safety of human milk formula and mifepristone on Wednesday. Sen. Martin…
Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Amy Maxmen, KFF Health News Four years after hospitals in New York City overflowed with covid-19 patients, emergency physician Sonya Stokes remains shaken by…
Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday $10 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act was awarded to six tribal nations and…
Lujan Grisham talks reproductive healthcare with CNN host

Lujan Grisham talks reproductive healthcare with CNN host

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham warned that banning contraceptives “could be next” when talking to a CNN host about New Mexico’s border and abortion issues.…
UNM approves land acquisition for Las Cruces reproductive health center

UNM approves land acquisition for Las Cruces reproductive health center

Thursday, the University of New Mexico Board of Regents approved a land acquisition for a full-spectrum reproductive healthcare center, that will include abortion care,…
Heinrich questions FDA leadership on baby formula safety, mifepristone

Heinrich questions FDA leadership on baby formula safety, mifepristone

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf answered questions about the safety of human milk formula and mifepristone on Wednesday. Sen. Martin…
FDA urged to relax decades-old tissue donation restrictions for gay and bisexual men

FDA urged to relax decades-old tissue donation restrictions for gay and bisexual men

By Rae Ellen Bichell The federal government in 2020 and 2023 changed who it said could safely donate organs and blood, reducing the restrictions…
Lujan Grisham talks reproductive healthcare with CNN host

Lujan Grisham talks reproductive healthcare with CNN host

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham warned that banning contraceptives “could be next” when talking to a CNN host about New Mexico’s border and abortion issues.…
Study: Marriage equality has had a positive impact

Study: Marriage equality has had a positive impact

A recent study found that in the 20 years since Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S. to grant same-sex marriage licenses, same-sex…
State Ethics Commission sues Apodacas dark money operation

State Ethics Commission sues Apodacas dark money operation

By Marjorie Childress, New Mexico In Depth The State Ethics Commission on Friday sued a dark money group and its president, Jeff Apodaca, to force disclosure…
Lujan Grisham talks reproductive healthcare with CNN host

Lujan Grisham talks reproductive healthcare with CNN host

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham warned that banning contraceptives “could be next” when talking to a CNN host about New Mexico’s border and abortion issues.…
Senators throw support to embattled Ivey-Soto

Senators throw support to embattled Ivey-Soto

By Justin Horwath, New Mexico In Dept Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto is running for a fourth term despite the state Democratic Party’s decision to censure…
Like it or not, a hydrogen ecosystem is coming to New Mexico

Like it or not, a hydrogen ecosystem is coming to New Mexico

By Jerry Redfern, Capital & Main Over the past month, in public meetings stretching from the Navajo Nation to Albuquerque, public officials and company representatives…
FDA urged to relax decades-old tissue donation restrictions for gay and bisexual men

FDA urged to relax decades-old tissue donation restrictions for gay and bisexual men

By Rae Ellen Bichell The federal government in 2020 and 2023 changed who it said could safely donate organs and blood, reducing the restrictions…
State Ethics Commission sues Apodacas dark money operation

State Ethics Commission sues Apodacas dark money operation

By Marjorie Childress, New Mexico In Depth The State Ethics Commission on Friday sued a dark money group and its president, Jeff Apodaca, to force disclosure…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report