‘Ignore the noise:’ Officials warn voters of efforts to sow doubt in election process

‘Ignore the noise: ’ Officials warn voters of efforts to sow doubt in election process

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – State officials expressed confidence in the security of their systems following National Intelligence and the FBI confirming foreign interference in the U.S. election.

U.S. intelligence officials say Iran and Russia obtained voter registration information and used that information to try to confuse voters through spoofed emails intimidating the recipients.

“There is no evidence that Wisconsin’s or any state’s systems have been accessed or compromised in any way,” Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Meagan Wolfe told reporters Thursday.

Wolfe said the commission has prepared its security system to handle such efforts for the past four years and voters should have confidence in the state system.

Still – Wolfe warns voters to not fall for bogus information.

“I know I myself get confusing mailings every day that say I haven’t returned my ballot or I’m not registered to vote, and I basically tell voters to ignore that noise,” Wolfe said. “Ignore the noise, there is a lot of noise out there go right to the source and get the official information from your election official.”

Experts said it was encouraging to see the intelligence agencies alert the public early about the issue.

“I’m glad that the FBI and DNI alerted the public before the election,” Young Mie Kim, a political science professor and election security expert at UW-Madison told CBS 58.

Kim noted there’s still more important information to be learned about this latest effort, such as did Iran and Russia obtain the voter information through publicly available means or through hacking efforts. If the latter, Kim warns it could mean foreign actors have access to manipulate voter rolls and similar information. If the former, then it’s likely the election system is safe and secure.

While it’s difficult to predict how foreign actors may move forward with just 12 days left until Election Day, Kim said voters should expect social media to be a target.

“I think that there might be a lot of disinformation campaigns, especially on social media so voters should be alerted about that.”

For official information about the election in Wisconsin voters can go to:

https://elections.wi.gov/

https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/

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