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The Nevada Independent

Secretary of state: No voter info sent to Pakistani government; state election system has not been hacked

Riley Snyder
Riley Snyder
Election 2020State Government

Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s office says there is no truth to the accusations that the state election system forwarded private voter information to a Pakistani-based intelligence company.

In an election-themed “Facts vs. Myths” document updated on Tuesday, the secretary of state’s office pushed back on claims from the Texas-based organization True the Vote that the office had responded to a request for the state’s publicly available voter list in an email that carbon copied the CEO of a Pakistani-owned intelligence company. True the Vote is a conservative nonprofit group focused on identifying voter fraud.

Earlier in December, True the Vote had sent a letter to the federal Department of Justice regarding the email and carbon copied address, saying it “appears to be evidence of a breach within the Nevada Secretary of State’s email system.”

But in its updated “Facts vs. Myths” document, the secretary of state’s office wrote that an individual from True the Vote had manually added the foreign email address to the carbon copy line of the email request process for any bulk data downloads from the office. 

“The automated program then sent the information as requested,” the office wrote. “The SOS IT staff has confirmed there have been no hacks or other reasons this could have occurred. This incident has been referred to appropriate law enforcement.”

The office also stated that it does not provide any voter privately identifiable information such as partial social security numbers, driver’s license numbers or email addresses — only information that is already a matter of public record. Cegavske, a Republican, faced similar allegations during her 2018 race against Democrat Nelson Araujo for allegedly providing private voter information to a Trump administration election integrity commission.

Catherine Engelbrecht, True the Vote’s founder, said in a message that no one at the organization had manually added the foreign email address in their email request to the secretary of state’s office.

“We welcome the opportunity to talk with anyone at NV SOS and encourage them to look at the IP address from whence the request(s) originated,” she said in a message. “It was not from us. And that is why we reported it.”

Earlier this month, Cegavske’s office published the initial “Facts vs. Myths” document as an indirect push back against claims of widespread voter fraud in the state’s 2020 election made by President Donald Trump and his campaign. Cegavske’s office wrote that it was pursuing several “isolated” cases of voter fraud but that there was no evidence of wide-spread fraud that would affect Trump’s 33,596-vote loss in the state. 

Additionally, the secretary of state’s office said it has not detected any hack of its internal systems by “any of our many passive and active cybersecurity sensors.”


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