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Officials say county cyberattack won’t have impact on upcoming election

Suffolk County’s elections will not be impacted by the Sept. 8 cyberattack that has shut down many county functions, officials said. 

However, the way the county reports election results will be different.

“At this point, everything is as it was,” said Board of Elections deputy commissioner Gail Lolis. “And in terms of operating the election, there’s absolutely no impact whatsoever. The only potential impact may be how we post results on our webpage on election night.” 

The county Board of Elections traditionally posts up-to-the minute elections results that are hosted by the county’s website. But that site may not be up and running by Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8.

The BOE is now working on an alternate plan, whereby New York State will provide web space for the county’s election results. The county BOE’s own site, suffolkvotes.com, also remained down as of early this week. 

County Executive Steve Bellone states on the county’s current one-page website that officials believe the Sept. 8 hackers accessed and/or acquired certain personal information from one or more county agency servers. The county has since hired multiple cybersecurity firms to conduct an examination to protect employees and residents as well as restore online services, according to Mr. Bellone.

The county’s website currently devotes several paragraphs to the Board of Elections, most of which include links to the state Board of Elections for information on topics like early voting and absentee voting.

Voters statewide can begin casting ballots Saturday, Oct. 29. Early voting, which the state implemented in 2019, will run through Sunday, Nov. 6.

There are 27 early voting locations throughout Suffolk County and registered voters can cast a ballot at any of them, regardless of where they live. North Fork early voting locations are the Southold Senior Center at 750 Pacific St. in Mattituck and the Riverhead Senior Center at 60 Shade Tree Lane in Aquebogue. The hours for early voting vary by day.

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Officials have noted that voters who have been issued absentee ballots may not vote on a voting machine either during early voting or on Election Day.

While voters can cast an early ballot at any location, they must vote at their assigned polling places on Election Day.

Voters will decide a number of key races this year, including the 1st Congressional District in Congress, the state Senate and Assembly and governor.

More information on the election can be found at elections.ny.gov.