US midterm elections: 'No specific or credible threat' to voting infrastructure

Threats, offensive language and false rumors of election fraud have been circulating widely ahead of the US midterm elections.

 Michigan voters cast their ballots at Louis Pasteur Elementary School on midterm election day in Detroit, Michigan, November 8, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/EVELYN HOCKSTEIN)
Michigan voters cast their ballots at Louis Pasteur Elementary School on midterm election day in Detroit, Michigan, November 8, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/EVELYN HOCKSTEIN)

A senior US cybersecurity official said there is 'no specific or credible threat' to disrupt election infrastructure during the US midterm elections on Tuesday.

The official was speaking to journalists during a scheduled briefing just as the vote was kicking off nationwide.

Election security has emerged as a key issue in the United States after officials found Russia interfered in the 2016 US election with a campaign of hacking and propaganda intended to hurt Hillary Clinton's chances of winning against Donald Trump.

Researchers who study election misinformation say threats, offensive language and false rumors of election fraud have been circulating widely ahead of the US midterm elections, which will determine control of Congress for the next two years.

A supporter of President Donald Trump holds a sign during a “Stop the Steal” protest after the 2020 US presidential election was called by the media for Democratic candidate Joe Biden, in front of the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, US, November 7, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/JIM URQUHART)A supporter of President Donald Trump holds a sign during a “Stop the Steal” protest after the 2020 US presidential election was called by the media for Democratic candidate Joe Biden, in front of the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, US, November 7, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/JIM URQUHART)

Prevalent narratives include claims that delays in vote counting are associated with fraud and that disease outbreaks are orchestrated as "scare tactics" to manipulate the election.

How the US plans to combat possible election interference

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) plans to set up an Elections Day Operations Center with public and private-sector partners across the country to monitor the midterms, it said in a statement on Monday.

"In recent years, election officials have had to contend with increasing disinformation from foreign adversaries, which can cause confusion about election infrastructure and undermine voters' faith in the process," Kim Wyman, the security agency's senior election security advisor, said in a statement last week.

"Now, when something goes wrong - and with 8,800 election jurisdictions across the country, something will go wrong somewhere - the innocuous can be made to look nefarious."