In the Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis comedy “The Campaign,” the quintessential good guy loses the election. He bemoans the results by saying he doesn’t understand what happened since he was ahead in the polls. The POV switches to the stickers on the voting machines; they were made by the victorious incumbent’s major donors, the “Motch Brothers.”
The reality is far from funny, though, as this year’s election circus is proving. There have been rampant reports of voter fraud in districts across the country, and one state went so far as to shut down the driver’s license offices in its majority-black counties (as driver’s licenses are required for voting in that state). There have been hints that the election is already corrupted, and speculation that there will be public outcry after the fact.
But now there’s a new cause for alarm: an alert issued by the FBI that hackers breached two different states’ election boards and nabbed voter databases.
According to a report based on sources within the FBI: “The bulletin does not identify the states in question, but sources familiar with the document say it refers to the targeting by suspected foreign hackers of voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois. In the Illinois case, officials were forced to shut down the state’s voter registration system for 10 days in late July, after the hackers managed to download personal data on up to 200,000 state voters.
Ken Menzel, the general counsel of the Illinois Board of Elections, said in an interview. The Arizona attack was more limited, involving malicious software that was introduced into its voter registration system but no successful ex-filtration of data, a state official said.”
This news comes at a time when one of the candidates has taken criticism for offering to pay Russian hackers if they break into his opponent’s email account.