Photo by Saiyna Bashir, The Capital Times

There’s no evidence that foreign actors seeking to meddle in American elections have accessed or compromised Wisconsin’s state voter registration database, the state’s top election official said.

Yesterday’s update from Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe comes after the FBI and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Wednesday warned Iran and Russia have both obtained information about American voters’ registrations.

According to Ratcliffe, Iran has been spending “spoofed emails” designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump.

Ratcliffe’s announcement also came shortly after a Washington Post story detailing how Iranian officials, posing as members of the far-right group the Proud Boys, sent threatening emails to Dem voters. That report led Dems to question Ratcliffe’s conclusion that Iran is seeking to damage Trump, as some of the Iranian messages threatened consequences unless Dems changed their affiliation and supported the president.

According to Ratcliffe, Russia has not yet acted on the data it received.

But Wolfe told reporters she is confident there has not been a database breach in Wisconsin or in any other state in the country.

“Any data that was used to make these email contacts is publicly available,” she said. “This is not data that came from statewide databases.”

Still, she said the report highlights the need to seek out “trusted sources of election information” like local clerks.

“If you see something suspicious, something that doesn’t make sense as a voter, you have the responsibility to fact check it, to check your voter record, to seek out legitimate information from your election official and to not perpetuate misinformation,” she said.

Wolfe also said the overall poll worker shortage is at roughly the same level as a week ago, though more municipalities are now reporting a shortage.

Wolfe said last week 51 municipalities across 31 counties were facing a severe shortage of poll workers, equating to roughly 180 poll workers statewide. As of today, she said that figure now sits at around 200 total workers across 43 counties.

Those figures continue to fluctuate daily but Wolfe said she was pleased with the overall poll worker recruitment effort.

“We continue to see that we’re in much better shape when it comes to poll workers than we saw in previous elections,” she said.

One week ahead of the state’s April election, the first to be held during the COVID-19 pandemic, local clerks indicated the shortage of poll workers was so severe that 111 communities wouldn’t even staff one polling site. Another 126 said they were unable to open all of the polling locations they’d like. The overall shortage reported by clerks on March 31 was nearly 7,000 poll workers.

See Wolfe’s availability:
https://wiseye.org/2020/10/22/news-conference-wisconsin-elections-commission-election-update-8/

See more on poll worker shortages:
https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/PollWorker

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