Lingering effects of a September ransomware attack delayed midterm vote tabulation in Suffolk County, which encompasses eastern Long Island in New York state.
Officials on Tuesday night said that 450,000 election night results would be significantly held up for state, federal, and local races thanks to an unexpected Wi-Fi outage related to the attack. Republican Party chairman Jesse Garcia told local outlet Newsday that the outage had prevented officials from uploading voting results — instead necessitating poll workers to bring 1,446 memory cards containing ballot results to election board headquarters.
Suffolk results began to be counted around 2:30 a.m. early Wednesday, according to the report.
The county is home to around 1.5 million people, and includes tony alcoves and summer destinations like the Hamptons and Fire Island, along with working and middle class neighborhoods. Long Island has been considered an important population bloc when it comes to deciding the fate of midterm election contenders in the Empire State — including the hotly contested governor's race between Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul and Suffolk County resident and GOP rival Lee Zeldin (Hochul was declared winner on Wednesday).
The Sept. 8 cyberattack wreaked havoc in the area, forcing 911 operators to work with pen and paper, taking down police in-car computers, and even knocking out the real-estate titling system, among other issues. It's unclear what exactly affected the Wi-Fi, though Newsday reported an official speculating that "extra protections" implemented by the county could be to blame.