YOUR VOICE, YOUR VOTE

How the FBI is working to protect the 2020 election

Sep 22, 2020, 11:02 AM | Updated: 11:52 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI says a lot of social media activity is again coming from other countries like Russia to try and hurt America this election year. Agents both here in Utah and across the nation are investigating and are asking for the public’s help.

The FBI says election security is one of their highest national priorities. But to their knowledge, no foreign government has attempted to tamper with the vote count.

“That being said, cybercriminals have been able to compromise U.S. voter registration databases,” said Supervisory Special Agent Casey Harrington, who oversees the FBI Cyber Task Force in Utah.

“We know that foreign adversaries, including Russia and China, would like to have an impact on illegal impact on our American political processes. These groups may use cyberattacks to target election infrastructure or political campaigns to further their goals,” he said. 

Special Agent in Charge Paul Haertel says the FBI works to prevent this by collaborating with state and local partners in Utah

 “The three main issues we are investigating are cyber attacks on political campaigns and government infrastructure, secret funding or influence operations to help or harm a person or cause, and disinformation campaigns on social media platforms to confuse, trick or upset the public,” said Haertel.

The FBI knows people can help in this election season when it comes to being online and on social media.

“Be aware that social media deception and foreign influence operations exist. Our adversaries want to have an impact on our election. Be informed, know the origin of the information and seek multiple sources to make informed judgments,” said Harrington.

The FBI also investigates voter fraud and ballot fraud, civil rights violations and campaign finance crimes.  Special agent Drew Scown says if you try to test the system by attempting to register again…that’s voter fraud.  Voter buying schemes and trying to vote in someone else’s name is also fraud. And Scown says it is a civil rights violation to try and suppress the vote.

“So this would involve like a threat of violence or economic harm. So for example, threatening someone if they vote, or if they don’t vote a certain way. This would also be efforts to prevent qualified voters from being able to participate in the election,” like lying about the time, place or manner of the election, said Scown.

Campaign finance crimes include excessive contributions, straw donor schemes, prohibited sources and abuse of campaign funds.

Scown says maintaining the integrity of the election is critical for our government to function.

“And when the legitimacy of elections is corrupted, our democracy is threatened.”

In the end, if you know something illegal is happening, or if you are concerned something is suspicious, report it to the FBI. 


Here’s a link to the FBI’s Protected Voices Campaign, which offers tools and resources for the public

Tips can be submitted online at tips.fbi.gov or by calling the office (801) 579-1400.


Related:

Elections officials say voter fraud not widespread in Utah, still taking steps to prevent it

Utah elections officials clarify erroneous voter information sent by US Postal Service

Today’s Top Stories

Your Voice, Your Vote

ballot count amendments utah...
Lindsay Aerts

County clerks report more poll watchers, scrutiny ahead of Utah primary

Ahead of the 2022 Utah Primary election, clerks Salt Lake and Utah counties are reporting more poll watchers are serving as watchdogs.
15 days ago
Utahns could get a tax cut....
LINDSAY AERTS AND KIRA HOFFELMEYER

Utah Senate passes a tax cut for Utahns, Gov. Cox says he will sign it

The Utah Senate just unanimously passed a bill, giving Utahns a big tax cut. People in the state could see $193 million back in taxes.
5 months ago
utah poll unfavorable to president biden...
Mary Richards

New poll shows low favorability in Utah for President Biden

The Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows that 45% of Utah residents have a favorable opinion of President Joe Biden, while 3% aren’t sure.
1 year ago
Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., read the final certifica...
LISA MASCARO, ERIC TUCKER, MARY CLARE JALONICK and ANDREW TAYLOR Associated Press

Biden win confirmed after violent pro-Trump protestors storms US Capitol

Congress has confirmed Democrat Joe Biden as the presidential election winner, hours after violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.
1 year ago
president trump trial...
ZEKE MILLER and JILL COLVIN Associated Press

Trump says his term is ending, transition will be orderly

President Donald Trump says there will be an “orderly transition on January 20th” now that Congress has concluded the electoral vote count certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
1 year ago
(Some of the flags and signs outside the Utah State Capitol.  Credit: Paul Nelson)...
Paul Nelson

Hundreds participate in “Stop The Steal” rally at Utah State Capitol

Hundreds of President Trump’s supporters in Utah gather on the Capitol grounds to protest what they call the stealing of the presidential election. 
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
How the FBI is working to protect the 2020 election