Protecting Your Voice, Your Vote: What officials know about election interference

On "This Week" ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas reports on possible election interference, followed by additional analysis with ABC News Contributor Kate Shaw.
6:47 | 10/25/20

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Transcript for Protecting Your Voice, Your Vote: What officials know about election interference
We've been working for years as a community to build resilience in our election infrastructure. Today that infrastructure remains resilient. You should be confident that your vote counts. The men and women of the FBI remain committed to protecting the American people, our democracy and the integrity of our elections. We are not going to let our guard down. That dramatic announcement from the directors of national intelligence and the FBI less than two weeks from election day revealing that foreign actors are again interfering in the U.S. Presidential race. The latest obstacle for voters in a campaign cycle already beset by misinformation. Our chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas has more. Reporter: As we head toward the final stretch of election, intelligence and law enforcement officials are seeing action from Russia. ABC news has learned the Kremlin has been infiltrating and probing government computer networks at the state and local level. Four years ago Russia conducted cyber attacks and spread disinformation. Those efforts have continued and potentially threaten the 2020 presidential election. Reporter: According to a new FBI homeland security alert a Russian state sponsored actor has conducted a campaign against a wide variety of U.S. Targets. Russians sought election related information and sources tell ABC news systems tied to two counties in two separate states were successfully hacked by the Russian intelligence operation. We're not going to tolerate any criminal activity that threatens the sanctity of your vote. Reporter: While no election information was altered or changed, the efforts allowed Russians to obtain information about voter registration which could be used in disinformation campaigns. In a highly unusual press conference authorities learned Iran is actively plotting as well, secretly obtaining voter registration information and weaponizing it through a series of threatening emails. When you first read that somebody has your address and they would like to come after you, I was like oh, my god am I safe? Reporter: Nine days before the election, tensions running incredibly high. Unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud creating conflict. I'm urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully. That's what has to happen. Reporter: Unnecessary tensions on election day. Americans are protected by law to be able to cast their ballot free from intimidation and discrimination. Pierre joins us now, along with Kate Shaw a professor of law, both of whom will be part of our election team. Pierre, these fake threatening emails sent to voters were divulged Tuesday and by Wednesday evening intelligence officials were blaming Iran, and and we know the Russians are trying to interfere as well, right? While there's no evidence this activity will impact someone's ability to cast their vote, the worries are that Russia is searching for weaknesses in the databases with the goal of launching a disinformation campaign. They seem to be sewing doubts with disinformation. Iran aware of Russia's successes in 2016 is aggressively pursuing the same goal as they saw the Russians do. The Russians are seen as the bigger sophisticated threat. Pierre, is U.S. Intelligence better prepared now than in 2016 and what about concerns the director of national intelligence may be politicizing the intelligence? They are better prepared, but they're under pressure to be transparent to give voters information in real time. To let them know what the bad the bottom line is only get your information from trusted credible sources. If you have any questions about where and how to vote, call your local officials directly to get all the information yourself. They should consider all the information things to ignore. The bad guys can't stop them as far as director Radcliffe, a number of sources have expressed frustration because he's so tied to the president and viewed by critics as political. They point to the fact in describing Iran's recent alleged attacks he portrayed president trump as the victim and did not mention one word about the democratic voters who were also targeted. Kate, do these breaches pose a risk to the integrity of the election itself or does this sew doubts about the integrity of the election? Martha, it's concerning that foreign actors are seeking to interfere in the election. We need to be skeptical of the political messages we encounter on social media in the critical final days. I don't think anything we've learned calls into question the integrity of our election itself. More concerning is the prospect that Americans hearing about these efforts will question the integrity of the election in a way that's out of proportion to the magnitude of the actual threat. This could cause them to disengage which would be the opposite of the right reaction. I think one other possible concern is that the losing candidate in the election could use this information to essentially advance a narrative that calls into question the results of the election. As to the integrity of the election itself, I don't think we have any cause for concern right now. Kate, what about the ballots all being counted in the days after the election? How concerned are you about that? You know, some states, including of course Pennsylvania, don't allow election officials to begin counting ballots until election day. It's unfortunate those rules haven't been changed. That's the legal system we have right now. Ballots being counted after election day will be counted consistent with state law. Insofar as delay is concerned, it's a different election cycle. Nothing in 2020 is normal. I think there's not cause for concern or reason to doubt the integrity of the process. If there is delay, it may be the system working as designed. Okay, thanks to you, Kate, and thanks to you, Pierre. We'll see you on election night.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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