Can hackers change votes for Clinton or Trump? ‘Not likely,’ say election supervisors

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigning in West Virginia. (AP photos)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigning in West Virginia. (AP photos)

(WFLA) — Lookout for hackers.  The F.B.I. warned all 67 of Florida’s Supervisor of Elections offices about the possibility of cyber attacks on computer systems.

“Certain IP addresses were an issue of concern, they identified some issues with those and they forwarded to respective counties and were able to go in and block those IP addresses,” said Pasco Supervisor of Elections, Brian Corley.

But what about hackers changing Clinton votes to Trump and vice-versa?

According to Jason Latimer of the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections office, there is little chance of that. “It’s a closed network, there is no internet access in or out of that room, so hacking is a very difficult feat to get into any sort of tabulation area,” explained Mr. Latimer.

Mr. Corley concurred that his tabulation area is also a closed network. “There’s not much of I am sure in life, but I am 100 percent positive that could not happen, unless they came in with a giant truck and smashed through our walls,” added Mr. Corley.

He is more concerned about hackers spreading misinformation.

“There’s talk of sending people to the wrong polling places if they have the data cell phone numbers or emails and that’s more of a disruption, for example, saying a particular polling place is closed, really spreading misinformation,” Mr. Corley said.

According to Mr. Corley the Pasco County Supervisor of elections website might be vulnerable to hackers.  He says he’s ready to shut it down if staff suspects they’ve been hacked.

As far as the actual numbers from the polls, both Pinellas and Pasco point out numbers from optical scanners, which county the votes, are put directly on an encrypted data stick, or thumb drive.  The scanner also prints out a paper receipt that is compared to the numbers on the data stick.  If there is a discrepancy, the actual paper ballots are available to be counted by hand.

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