January 9, 2020

Indiana FBI Focuses On Election Security

FILE PHOTO: Lauren Chapman/IPB News

FILE PHOTO: Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana Federal Bureau of Investigation officials spoke with media about 2020 election security Thursday and say it is a top priority.

After Russian interference in the 2016 elections, FBI officials in Indianapolis say foreign influence is an important focus. Other areas of election crime, including voter manipulation and data breaches, will also be investigated.

FBI intelligence analyst Ernest Juan says election crime is two-sided -- it includes influence and interference.

"Influence in terms of the voters and public opinion and then interference in the actual election process," says Juan.

Influence includes misinformation, which is not necessarily illegal, and cases are often nuanced.

Special Agent Mike Alford says state or county officials control most of the election process.

"It’s not a federal process," says Alford. "We are involved from a security side, but at the end of the day the stuff that happens at the polling location we have very specific rules that federal agents can do in the location and it’s extremely limited."

Indianapolis FBI officials will handle federal election policy violations. Agents say they are working closely with state, local and private entities.

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