There are a couple of news items which should cause us some concern, other than the inability of the current President to speak the words, “The Russians hacked into our elections.”
First, there are the efforts by the Russians to continue their intrusions into our elections:
“Since the November election, US intelligence and law enforcement agencies have detected an increase in suspected Russian intelligence officers entering the US under the guise of other business, according to multiple current and former senior US intelligence officials. The Russians are believed to now have nearly 150 suspected intelligence operatives in the US, these sources said. Officials who spoke to CNN say the Russians are replenishing their ranks after the US in December expelled 35 Russian diplomats suspected of spying in retaliation for election-meddling.” [CNNI]
Secondly, there’s James Clapper’s assessment that the Russians are prepping the battlefield for 2018. (video) This should raise some concerns from Nevada’s election officials.
Thus far Nevada’s chief election official, the Secretary of State, has agreed to hand over such Nevada voter registration data as is a matter of public record to the Pence/Kobach Commission, and not the full list of information Kobach’s Commission has requested…without any reference as to whether his Commission will pay for the data as any other political institution or agency would be asked to do. The security of the information, given the increased Russian interest in our elections, is highly questionable. Nor is the question answered about the rationale for the Commission in the first place. However, it does sound a bit like Nevada’s Election Integrity Task Force which receives plaudits and plenty of attention in the Secretary of State’s Biennial Report for 2015-2016. (pdf)
The EITF ferreted out some cases of voting irregularities rising to the level of prosecutable offenses: One case of double voting in Clark County in 2012; one case of an undocumented immigrant voting in Washoe County in 2014; and one case in Nye County of improperly completed voter registration forms in 2016. That’s IT. Three cases. Adding a soupçon of context: In 2012 there were 1,016,664 votes cast. In 2014 there were 552,326 votes cast, and in 2016 there were 1,125,429 votes cast in Nevada. In 2012 there were a total of 1,082,705 active voters on Nevada rolls; there were 1,193,194 active voters on Nevada rolls in 2014; and, in 2016 there were 1,334,959 active voters on the rolls. [NVSoS] Somehow, this context wouldn’t seem to justify a “Task Force” on any subject.
There are some other numbers which seem to call for greater attention and concern, and these are located in the Nevada Executive Budget for FY 2016-2017 (pdf). One of the performance measures included in the Secretary of State’s budget concerns the number of electronic viruses neutralized by its IT personnel. The actual numbers are available for 2011 (300), 2012 (375), 2013 (391), and 2014 (407), with projected numbers for 2015 (442), 2016 (480), and 2017 (520). See a trend? The budget descriptors don’t indicate if these were malware, spyware, or someone trying to hack into corporate records, but the steadily increasing number from 2011 onward isn’t comforting…and now we have more Russians running loose in the country, “setting up the battlefield for 2018.”
However, our Secretary of State seems to have her own battlefield, as of last April, when she alleged there was voting by non-citizens in the 2016 election as a result of Department of Motor Vehicles practices (based on a March memo of understanding about the practices which bears her signature.) It’s July, and Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske has yet to make public any information confirming or substantiating her allegations. We might be excused for believing, on the basis of this information that in her office 3 is of greater concern than 520.