Voting Machine Issues Likely Aren’t Cyberattacks, Says DHS

November 3, 2020 Updated: November 3, 2020

Voting machine problems Tuesday in Spalding County in Georgia and other places are being monitored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Christopher Krebs.

“When you see tech challenges or failures, it is very, very, very, rarely a cyber issue, based on everything we’ve seen, that’s what’s going on out there,” he said, according to Fox News. He said that it’s likely not a cyberattack on election systems.

Krebs said that states were addressing issues with their vendors.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Krebs said. “Today, in some sense, is half-time. There may be other events or activities or efforts to interfere and undermine confidence in the election. So I’d ask all Americans to be patient, to treat all sensational and unverified claims with skepticism, and remember technology sometimes fails and breaks.”

Voting machines went down in Spalding County earlier in the day, although officials later said that voting is now back to normal. Officials said that paper ballots were being used in the interim.

“All polling stations in each precinct are now up and running as they should be,” Spalding County said in a mid-morning statement.

The sheriff’s office weighed in on the matter.

“The computers at all polling locations across Spalding County are down. The problem is being worked on and hopefully will be resolved quickly,” the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “Until the issue is fixed, paper ballots are being used at all locations.”

Meanwhile, in Ohio’s Franklin County, county officials said the board of elections “will be using its backup paper poll books to check in voters today,” according to a statement in the morning. “This is why we have contingency plans in place and the process is working. We decided to go with the backup paper poll books to ensure that one voter can only cast one vote.”

Earlier this week, the Department of Justice announced it would send monitors to 18 states.

“Federal law entrusts the Civil Rights Division with protecting the right to vote for all Americans,” said Eric S. Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, in the statement. “Our federal laws protect the right of all American citizens to vote without suffering discrimination, intimidation, and harassment. The work of the Civil Rights Division around each federal general election is a continuation of its historical mission to ensure that all of our citizens can freely exercise this most fundamental American right.”