US cyber official: Go vote, ‘don’t let the Russians get in your head’

Your Local Election Headquarters

“I Voted” stickers cover a table at a polling station during the North Carolina primary on Super Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 3, 2020. – Forteen states and American Samoa are holding presidential primary elections, with over 1400 delegates at stake. Americans vote Tuesday in primaries that play a major role in who will challenge Donald Trump for the presidency, a day after key endorsements dramatically boosted Joe Biden’s hopes against surging leftist Bernie Sanders. The backing of Biden by three of his ex-rivals marked an unprecedented turn in a fractured, often bitter campaign. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo by LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

 (CNN) — Department of Homeland Security officials Tuesday encouraged voters to head to the polls and cast their votes, despite an ongoing Russian misinformation and disinformation campaign to influence voters and sow discord.

“This system is as secure as it’s ever been,” said Chris Krebs, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. “Get out there and vote. Don’t let the Russians get in your head.”

Krebs said that at this point on Super Tuesday, there has not been an “acute increase” in misinformation, pointing out that it is a “steady state” flow of influence operations.

“The Russians never left in 2016; they continue to engage in this broad, large scale, disinformation influence operations,” he said, speaking at the agency’s election security coordination hub in Virginia. “The issues change, they ebb and flow, but we continue to work with our intelligence partners, with the social media partners.”

The overarching objective of the Russian actors is to undermine broader confidence in the US political system, according to Krebs, who declined to provide specifics on the influence campaign.

The Russians are attempting to get the American voter to lose faith and confidence in the system, he added. “That’s ultimately what’s going on here. It’s not any specific primary, any specific candidate, any specific election, it is the broader system.”

Krebs also said there have been various issues with voter lookup tools in California and Texas, but those have been intermittent IT issues. All the systems are back online and “all systems are green right now,” he said.

“We are not aware of any persistent long-term issues associated with the election infrastructure in the United States right now,” Krebs said.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, speaking alongside Krebs, encouraged voters in the Nashville area to make sure they get information directly from their local election officials. A county judge on Tuesday ruled that polling locations in Tennessee’s Davidson County, which includes Nashville, will stay open an extra hour.

“Don’t rely on their social media feeds to understand where a polling place may have changed, because of some of the damage,” Wolf said.

Wolf said it is important to remember there’s “no such thing as perfect security, which is why the real goal is the resilience of our systems.”

“One key part of resilience is having an auditable paper trail, so that results can be verified, and voters will have confidence in the process,” he said.

This year, more than 90% of votes will be cast 

Trademark and Copyright 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Latest News

More News