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A polling place in California. Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security said that it hadn't seen security breaches affecting votes around the country as midterm contests came to a close.

Why it matters: After Russia's election interference efforts in 2016, policymakers and the major tech platforms have paid close attention to election protection — both on social media and at the ballot box.

A Department of Homeland Security official said early Wednesday morning that the agency was "not aware of any cybersecurity-related compromises of election infrastructure."

At Facebook, head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a Tuesday night statement that a website "claiming to be associated with" Russia's Internet Research Agency had posted a list of Instagram accounts it said it had created. Many of those were among accounts Facebook had already blocked Monday, and the platform has now blocked the rest, Gleicher said.

  • The platform also started removing a video circulating Tuesday purporting to show voter fraud in Ohio after it was fact checked by the Associated Press, a Facebook spokesperson said.
  • Yes, but: As polls started to close on the East Coast, the spokesperson added that "we haven’t seen anything unexpected" so far.

DHS officials declined to comment in detail throughout Tuesday on any misinformation operations aimed at the elections, deferring to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment.

What's next? Experts worry it's possible bad actors could latch onto narratives that call into question the integrity of the election or fabricate false claims of meddling.

  • "On election day, the focus is on process and results," said Graham Brookie, the director and managing editor of the Digital Forensic Research Lab at The Atlantic Council, which analyzes misinformation campaigns for Facebook and Twitter. "With the amount of extremely close and polarized races, we can expect disinformation focused on process and results to extend past election day. The goal is to call into question the election itself."
  • The DHS offical said, regarding election interference efforts, "We anticipate them going forward."

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.