The Russia hack that wasn’t? Supposed breach of Dallas voter rolls might not have happened
A Dallas County election official claimed months ago that Russians tried to hack the county’s voter registration rolls—but a new report is challenging that account. According to internal Dallas County emails obtained by the ABC affiliate for the Dallas area, WFAA, the supposed Russian hack was not confirmed.
“To our knowledge, there have been no such attempts,” Dallas County Chief Information Officer Stanley Victrum reportedly said in an email on June 13 to the Dallas County Elections Administrator, Toni Pippins-Poole.
Pippins-Poole had claimed at the time there was evidence of hack attempts from Russian IP addresses. In a separate email sent to his staff, Victrum asked for “insights” on what Pippins-Poole could be referring to, saying “to our knowledge we haven’t been hacked.”
On June 15, the Associated Press and other news outlets picked up the story, reporting that Pippins-Poole said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in October alerted election offices about 600 IP addresses linked to Russian hackers. Pippins-Poole reportedly found “17 matches” for hackers who tried to gain access to the voter rolls.
The Associated Press reported, “Federal authorities have confirmed some of those attempts came from Russian IP addresses.”
But in the emails obtained by WFAA, Victrum wrote to Dallas County Chief Administrator Darryl Martin telling him they did not have “specific indications” there was a hack.
“We don’t have specific indications at this time that Russian hackers … those 17 Russian IP addresses in question … were attempting to hack the County Elections systems, especially since we, for all intents and purposes, block IP addresses from Russia,” Victrum wrote.
The following day, an email from another Dallas official said: “IT security has nothing to support the claims by the elections department.”
This week, when asked about the email exchanges, Pippins-Poole reportedly walked back her claims from June, saying she didn’t know about “absolute proof” that Russians “were the ones trying to get in.”
“We really can’t say,” Pippins-Poole told WFAA, directing questions back to Victrum.
“To my knowledge there’s no evidence that occurred,” Victrum told WFAA.