Illinois

Articles about voting issues in Illinois.

Illinois: Cook County Board approves new election equipment contract, despite rival firm’s lawsuit | Chicago Sun Times

Residents in suburban Cook County could be the first voters to use new election equipment next year. The Cook County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday awarded a 10-year contract for nearly $31 million to Dominion Voting Systems, Inc., which would mean an update for the county’s equipment, some of which is at least a decade old. The older technology could open the county up to threats to election security. The contract first came before the County Board in March, but two bid protests by Election Systems & Software, which has provided election equipment for the county in the past, delayed the vote. The roll out of the new equipment is still in question. Cook County Clerk David Orr said it’s too late to begin testing the equipment and training poll workers for the November election, but he hopes that testing can begin in suburban Cook during the February and April elections. Orr called the unanimous vote “a plus for many, but especially for voters.” Read More

Illinois: ES&S Takes Aim at Cook County Contract | Courthouse News

A supplier of election equipment brought a federal complaint in protest of the more than $30 million contract that Cook County, Illinois, is set to iron out Wednesday with another vendor. One of the voting machines offered by Election Systems & Software, which brought a federal complaint against Cook County, Illinois, on Sept. 25, 2018. As alleged by Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software, the state should not even have allowed Dominion Voting Systems to bid on the contract because the Illinois Board of Elections has not certified the latter’s system. Represented by the firm Vedder Price, Election Systems & Software filed its suit Tuesday in Chicago. ESS, as the plaintiff abbreviates its name in the complaint, notes that Cook County put out the request for proposals early last year with an eye toward purchasing or leasing a blended voting system that would feature both pen-marking and touch-screen ballot technology. Read More

Illinois: Fellow Democrats rap Jesse White for automatic voter registration holdup | Chicago Sun-Times

Three Democratic state representatives joined voting rights advocates Monday to criticize Secretary of State Jesse White for failing to implement automatic voter registration in time for the November election — but the critics and White disagreed on whether the matter will wind up in court. Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago, and Rep. Celina Villanueva, D-Chicago, led the news conference at the Thompson Center criticizing White, who is currently seeking his sixth term. White’s rollout of the program was initially planned for July, and would have been complete ahead of November’s general election. But after delays, it is now expected to be in place by mid-year 2019, according to White’s office. Read More

Illinois: Not all WCIL counties on board with election cyber security upgrades | Herald-Whig

The state of Illinois is working to beef up voter security through its Cyber Navigator Program, a program that will require at least half of the $13.9 million in federal funding the state received for election upgrades. The program, which is still being finalized, will provide training and grants to local election officials. The state will conduct risk assessments of each participating county to ensure that clerks are using best practices, and the program will also put all participating counties on a centralized, more secure internet network. The program is a reaction to Russian hacking in the 2016 election, which gave hackers access to 76,000 active Illinois voter registrations. As the state works to coordinate the logistics, some West Central Illinois counties are split on its value. Read More

Illinois: Governor Blocks Bill To Tell People With Criminal Histories About Their Voting Rights | HuffPost

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) blocked legislation on Friday that would have required corrections officials throughout the state to help people detained in jails and prisons understand whether they can vote. The bill would have required election and corrections officials to offer ballots to people being detained in jail prior to their trials who want to vote. It would have also required corrections officials to provide voter registration forms to people being released from jail and information about voting rights to those leaving prison. The bill was meant to reduce the confusion about voting rights that contributes to voter disenfranchisement. People detained in jails often have no idea they are eligible to vote, let alone how to request a ballot to do so. The policies governing whether felons can vote when they are released from prison vary widely from state to state. Offenders, as well as parole officers and other corrections officials, can easily be confused about who has the right to vote. Read More

Illinois: GOP chair praises ‘nonpartisan’ effort to eliminate Bloomington Election Commission | WJBC

The chairman of the McLean County Republican Party said it was satisfying to work on a nonpartisan issue even though leaders from the local Democratic Party were not involved. Republicans and Libertarians filed a petition Monday for a judge to decide whether to place on the November ballot a binding referendum to get rid of the Bloomington Election Commission. The county clerk would run all county elections. County GOP Chair Connie Beard said the two parties gathered almost 1,300 signatures, which exceeds the required 1,000 signatures. County Democratic leaders believe the referendum is a political move, but Beard said Democratic voters were among those who signed the petition. Read More

Illinois: Elections officials hear cybersecurity plan that doesn’t address aging election machines | MDJ Online

While the state elections board unveils details about its Cyber Navigator Program to help local election officials secure cyberspace, some county clerks are worried about the security of aging voting machines. The Illinois State Board of Elections held a public hearing Wednesday outlining its plan to offer up a central network for local elections officials for improved cybersecurity. The plan includes hiring 9 cyber navigators that will go around the state assessing vulnerabilities in the 108 different local election jurisdictions. While acknowledging some smaller jurisdictions can definitely use the help, Logan County Clerk Sally Turner said one of her chief concerns is voting machines. “It’s really getting old and if your county doesn’t have a lot of money, that makes it difficult to be able to go out and purchase election equipment and that’s something we’re all needing very quickly,” Turner said. Read More

Illinois: Russian Hacking Points To Need For Cybersecurity Specialists | WGLT

The Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) faced scrutiny after Illinois became one of 39 states hacked by the Russians in the 2016 election. ISBE said only voter rolls were hacked, and no ballots were tampered with. The board’s IT Director Matt Emmons said Tuesday that’s why cybersecurity specialists are imperative. “There’s always a threat,” Emmons said. “Threat is an outside factor, an outside force. So we’re operating under the assumption that there will be a threat 100 percent of the time.” Emmons spoke Tuesday in Normal to the Central Illinois chapter of BDPA, an organization for African-Americans and other minorities in the information technology (IT) and STEM fields. He was joined by McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael and the county’s chief information officer, Craig Nelson. Read More

Illinois: Despite Hacking Concerns, Governor Won’t Pull Illinois From Voter Database | Governing

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said Monday that he doesn’t see “any reason” for Illinois to end its participation in a controversial multistate voter registration system, which critics have called inaccurate and vulnerable to hackers. Rauner’s remarks came one day before he faces a deadline to act on a bill that would withdraw Illinois from the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. The database is run through the Kansas secretary of state’s office and is aimed at flagging duplicate voter registrations across state lines. “I don’t see any reason why we should get out of that as a state,” the governor said at an unrelated appearance about gun control. Read More

Illinois: Hacked Voter Records in Illinois Soar to Half a Million | Government Technology

Last week, Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced that a dozen Russians were indicted for hacking offenses tied to the 2016 presidential elections. In addition to the indictments, Rosenstein asserted that Russian intelligence officers stole information on approximately 500,000 voters from a hacked state election board website. Illinois previously disclosed that it notified 76,000 residents that they may have had their voter registration data viewed by the attackers. And although the Illinois State Board of Elections is not specifically mentioned in Rosenstein’s speech nor in the grand jury indictment issued by the DOJ, the Illinois State Board of Elections believes the reference relates to it.  “As far as we know, we are the only state that experienced an actual breach, which is why we stated that we believe we are the ‘SBOE 1’ referred to in Count 11, paragraph 72 [of the indictment],” Matt Dietrich, public information officer for the Illinois State Board of Elections, told Government Technology. Read More