WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Chris Van Hollen and all members of the Maryland delegation in the House of Representatives, Steny H. Hoyer, Elijah E. Cummings, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Andy Harris, M.D., John K. Delaney, Anthony G. Brown and Jamie B. Raskin, today urged Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to respond favorably to Maryland’s request for technical assistance to review and protect the state’s electoral systems. Governor Larry Hogan, Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch jointly made the initial request to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after it was revealed late last week that a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin has an ownership interest in AltPoint Capital Partners, which is a majority owner of ByteGrid Holdings LLC. ByteGrid is the company that hosts Maryland’s statewide voter registration, candidacy, and election management system; the online voter registration system; online ballot delivery system; and the unofficial election night results website. The State of Maryland is seeking support in evaluating what if any systems may have been compromised given the Russian track record and continuing interest in interfering in U.S. elections.
The full letter follows and can be found at this link.
July 19, 2018
The Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen
Secretary of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Dear Secretary Nielsen:
We are writing to express our strong support for the State of Maryland’s request for federal assistance regarding the Maryland State Board of Elections, pursuant to the letter of July 13, 2018 from Governor Larry Hogan, Senate President Mike Miller, and House Speaker Michael Busch.
Given the unanimous assessment of the Intelligence Community that Russia interfered in our 2016 presidential election, all levels of our government must take every necessary precaution to preserve the security and integrity of America’s free and fair elections. American elections are a hallmark of our democratic system and a cornerstone of the rule of law. We understand that federal law enforcement officials briefed the Maryland Board of Elections regarding a vendor contracted to provide voter registration infrastructure and other services, and that company had been acquired by a parent company with financial ties to a Russian national.
We therefore strongly support the State of Maryland’s request that the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communications provide the State of Maryland with technical assistance to evaluate the network utilized by the Maryland State Board of Elections. Specifically, DHS can help assist the State of Maryland in evaluating network security, auditing network integrity, and providing additional support and services deemed necessary and appropriate by the Maryland State Board of Elections.
We thank you for your expeditious consideration of our request and look forward to continuing to work with you to safeguard American elections.
Cc: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein
FBI Director Christopher Wray
U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert Hur
FBI Special Agent in Charge for Maryland Gordon Johnson
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan
Maryland Senate President Mike Miller
Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh
Maryland Board of Elections Administrator Linda Lamone