By: Drew Marvel
In 2013, the State of Maryland entered into a five-year, $7.5 million procurement contract with ByteGrid LLC, a company specializing in computer systems, data management, and software engineering. The deal outsourced, among other things, many of the State Board of Elections’ online systems and election data, including the state-wide voter registration and candidacy platform, the election-management system, the online ballot-delivery system, and the site which reports the unofficial results on election night. All of these election systems, and the voter information and data associated with them, are now housed and stored on servers owned and operated by ByteGrid LLC.
What Maryland officials didn’t know was that in 2015 ByteGrid LLC was quietly acquired by Altpoint Capital Partners, a financing company whose principal investor is Vladimir Potanin, a wealthy Russian oligarch linked to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.