MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin’s top election official will testify next week as part of the investigation into Russian hacking of the election.
WI Elections Commission Administrator Mike Haas will speak to the Senate Intelligence committee Wednesday. He’s part of a panel of state election officials providing information to the committee on their experiences with potential hacking of state election information, and is speaking as a representative of the National Association of State Election Directors.
Bloomberg News reported this week that 39 states experienced attempts on hacking into voter information databases. Two of those attempts were successful in Illinois and Arizona. Haas says Wisconsin has not received any information that it was a state that had an attempt on hacking data.
Haas says his testimony to the same committee that has recently spoken to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former FBI Director James Comey will cover nationwide efforts to keep election data safe.
“I think part of our message will be that we’re on this, we’re aware of what the risks are, what the dangers are, and these are the things we are doing,” Haas says.
Those things include check-ins and training measures with local election officials who may have passwords to state voter information databases.
Haas says some states have also been concerned about the level of information they get when contacting the Department of Homeland Security, in part because some of that information may be classified.
“There is that tension between what you can share and what’s classified and how broadly you distribute information so you don’t compromise positive things that are being done,” Haas said. “I think that’s one message we will provide is that all of us in this system can do a better job in trying to communicate.”
Illinois’ chief election official will testify with Haas, as well as University of Michigan professor J. Alex Halderman who could testify to election machine vulnerability. Halderman testified against the state of Wisconsin in a lawsuit brought by Jill Stein to try and force a hand recount late last year. Haas says he believes his testimony may “balance” Halderman’s.