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2020 election security | Hackers likely trying to keep you from voting, not change individual votes

Election officials in Iowa are trained to watch out for election meddling.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Local 5's "Verify Your Vote" team is here to help make sure you vote fairly and accurately this election. 

The F.B.I. announced Wednesday night that Iran and Russia have interfered with the 2020 election by gathering voter registration information and using it to send voters videos and emails to scare someone from voting.

Election officials are trained to watch out for meddling, and Iowa State University political scientist Steffen Schmidt says these hackers aren't going to change your vote: They're trying to scare you from voting at all by spewing distrust in the United States' election process. 

"What they're doing is they're using social media to kind of put out a lot of bad information," Schmidt said. "But there's so much bad information out there anyway, without the Russians or the Iranians that, you know, people have to learn how to kind of cut through all that and ignore it." 

Schmidt says this scare tactic makes him believe that some people might decide to not just vote at all. He says that Iowa does have ways it protects our election's integrity.

"There's a lot of very good encryption, which means that for a hacker to try to break into some of the voting infrastructure, they're going to have to really know what they're doing and and know how to break encryption, which is very, very difficult," Schmidt said.

The best way to get factual information is going to straight to the source: the Iowa Secretary of State's website.

Below are ways you can combat misinformation: 

Click/tap here to access Local 5's Voter Guide or text VOTE to 515-457-1026. Live election results will be available Nov. 3 at this link.

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