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Bay Area Election Experts Reassure Voters After Reports Of Iran, Russia Accessing Some Voter Registration Data

MARTINEZ (KPIX 5) -- Bay Area election experts are attempting to reassure voters after top intelligence officials announced that Iran and Russia have taken actions to interfere in the upcoming presidential election.

At a last-minute briefing with reporters on election security Wednesday night, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray announcing the two countries took actions attempting to compromise the election, specifically obtaining some voter registration data.

"These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries," the Director of National Intelligence said.

Contra Costa County Registrar Debi Cooper said voters should know there has been no breach of the computer voting systems.

"In Contra Costa, our tally system - our system that counts the ballots - is not connected to the internet in any way," Cooper told KPIX 5. "So when we count the ballots, there's no way anyone can interfere with that process."

"Your ballot is going to be treated securely and it's going to count," she added.

KPIX 5 Elections expert Bertrall Ross said voters should not get distracted by the confusing debate about which candidate this foreign interference helps or hurts. That's not what this is all about.

"They're trying to create confusion, they're trying to sow chaos. They're trying to undermine our confidence in the election. And it's important that we try to preserve that confidence … so that we can move forward as a country as we get through this election," Ross said.

Ratcliffe said the American people can be assured that this election is secure.

"Even if the adversaries pursue further attempts to intimidate ... know that our election systems are resilient and you can be confident your votes are secure," he said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, too, tried to reassure the public that their votes will be counted.

"You should be confident that your vote counts," Wray said.

That confidence was on display Wednesday night as three generations of the Cagalawan family of Martinez cast their ballots, insisting they will not be distracted.

"Some people think, 'Aw, it's fraud and it doesn't count.' Like, No! It's about you doing action and at the end of the day the result it is what it is. But at least we're doing our part," said Alma Cagalawan. "This is your right."

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