Officials in Maryland have petitioned the Department of Homeland Security for assistance after hearing from the FBI that the third-party firm contracted for the state’s elections is connected to a Russian oligarch.
According to CNN, ByteGrid LLC hosts the state’s “voter registration, candidacy and election management system, the online voter registration system, online ballot delivery system and unofficial election night results website”.
ByteGrid is majority owned by AltPoint Capital Partners. They have general and limited partners, one of whom is Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin, company officials confirmed.
"When the FBI comes in and tells you that they have information that there might be Russian money involved in the vendor you have for your electoral system, you take notice," Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch told CNN on Monday.
Though the FBI made gave no indication the Maryland system was compromised, officials are looking to perform a thorough evaluation.
A letter crafted by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan after he and Busch met with the FBI asks the Department of Homeland Security for "technical assistance to evaluate the network" used by the Maryland State Board of Elections.
"The mere fact that we have had discussions with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Homeland Security, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications should provide evidence of our grave concern regarding this matter," Hogan said in the letter sent to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
For its part, ByteGrid maintains its investors have nothing to do with company operations:
"We stand by our commitment to security in everything we do, and do not share information about who our customers are and what we do for them," [Annie Eissler, chief marketing director for ByteGrid] said in the statement.