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.
Articles about voting issues in Illinois.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Illinois: County GOP joins effort to end Bloomington Election Commission | Government and Politics | pantagraph.com
Voters may finally have their say on the Bloomington Election Commission. Months after the McLean County Libertarian Party started circulating petitions for a ballot question that would dissolve the BEC, the McLean County Republican Party is throwing its weight behind the proposal as well. “It was unanimous: We think this is an issue that should go before the public,” said party Chair Connie Beard of a vote among precinct committeemen last week. “We think eliminating the BEC would increase efficiency, save taxpayer dollars and make the process more directly connected to voter control.”
Illinois: Legislation to disband DuPage County election commission clears Illinois Senate | Daily Herald
DuPage County will gain the power to disband the county election commission if Gov. Bruce Rauner signs legislation now on his desk. The Illinois Senate on Friday unanimously approved the legislation that would amend the Election Code to allow DuPage County to dissolve its election commission and transfer its functions to the county clerk’s office. The state House approved the measure last month. “This is a major step forward for DuPage County government,” county board Chairman Dan Cronin said Friday. “We’re streamlining an operation that’s been around for a while and is antiquated.”
Illinois: After election night debacle, DuPage County officials cut ties with voting machine vendor | Daily Herald
The DuPage County Election Commission has severed its relationship with the company that supplied faulty equipment and caused results to be delayed for hours during the March primary. Members of the board that oversees the election commission on Wednesday terminated all four contracts the agency has with Liberty Systems LLC. The two-year pacts were rescinded as part of a settlement agreement with the vendor. Commission officials say Liberty Systems provided the wrong ballot-like cards needed to close the county’s optical scan voting machines. The so-called “ender cards” were too thick to run through the voting machines that read paper ballots — a mistake officials didn’t discover until after the polls closed on March 20.