HELENA, Mont. — Montana’s secretary of state has said for the first time that Russian hackers unsuccessfully probed the state’s election systems for weaknesses in 2016.

The acknowledgement by Secretary Corey Stapleton Friday in his occasional newsletter appears to contradict a previous statement by state elections officials that Montana was not among states targeted.

Stapleton’s elections director did not immediately respond to a request for an explanation.

Stapleton says Russian agents tried to interfere with the 2016 elections and that “almost half the states (including Montana) were scanned for weaknesses in our elections systems.”

He says no votes were changed, but it was a clear threat to fair elections.

Elections Director Dana Corson in March told The Associated Press that Montana was not among states targeted by hackers in 2016.

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