State auditor broadens review of Pa.’s voter system

Eugene DePasquale says his decision comes after learning that a Russian oligarch is a primary investor in the company that manages Maryland's system.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene A. DePasquale (Chris Knight/AP Photo)

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene A. DePasquale (Chris Knight/AP Photo)

Pennsylvania’s Auditor General says he’s expanding his review of the state voter registration infrastructure, after learning a Russian oligarch is a primary investor in the company that manages Maryland’s system.

The audit initially launched in June in response to news Pennsylvania’s system was one of 21 Russian hackers tried to infiltrate.

There’s no evidence anyone successfully breached Pennsylvania’s voter database…known as the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors — or SURE — system.

Eugene DePasquale initially said an audit would give everyone peace of mind — plus, help the state come up with a plan to replace the 16-year-old system.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

But now, he said he has some new concerns.

“My team will do everything we can to ensure any system Pennsylvania may use now or in the future is wholly owned by firms with American interests,” he said–somewhat jokingly adding that “if there’s a thing like, ‘are you a Russian oligarch, yes or no?’ and someone checks yes, I want to make it clear as the Auditor General, I’m ok with that disqualifying them from the bid process.”

Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres said as far as he knows, there’s no process to review people with financial stakes in Acclaim, the company that manages the commonwealth’s voter registration system–because the state never thought it would be an issue.

“I think it’s a valid concern, and an issue that’s being reviewed right now,” he said.

Acclaim is based in Pennsylvania, It isn’t related to Maryland’s voter registration manager, ByteGrid LLC.

DePasquale has also sent letters to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney in Pennsylvania asking how the commonwealth can secure its system.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal