Durbin: Foreign hacking, not voter fraud, Illinois’ biggest election threat

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, photo from Senate website

Washington D.C. (Illinois News Network) – Forget voter fraud, Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said foreign hacking is the biggest threat to elections in the state.

Illinois’ senior senator said the state got lucky in 2016.

Dick Durbin told a panel of state election leaders in Washington D.C. this week that foreign hackers could have caused a lot of trouble two years ago.

“Somebody left a little wormhole in there and they got into our voter file,” he said. “They had the capacity, and thank goodness they didn’t use it, to change just a digit on each of our addresses and make a chaotic situation at the polling place when people turned up to vote.”

Durbin said that state and local election managers have to be aware and prepared for foreign hackers.

Illinois’ local election managers spent two days this week in Bloomington getting cyber-security training. Illinois also is in the process of creating a new cyber navigator for elections.

Durbin dismissed fears that voter fraud is a paramount threat.

“I can count on both hands the cases of voter fraud in the state of Illinois in the last several election cycles. And the convictions are even fewer,” Durbin said. “When it comes to this hacking, it is an exponentially greater threat to our voting system than voter fraud.”

The Illinois State Board of Elections has said in the past that some of their publicly available data was accessed by hackers. But local election managers, who maintain their own voter information, have said their data was never threatened.