Elections board says voters should have confidence in election security, despite Russian hack

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will be grilled Thursday by House Republicans furious over the pace of the Justice Department's compliance with House subpoenas related to the FBI's actions in 2016.

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Illinois News Network) — After 12 Russians were charged with hacking efforts designed to interfere with the 2016 Presidential election, Illinois officials said voters should have confidence in the state system despite the breach.

Friday U.S. Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced an indictment of Russian hackers for breaking into the servers of political organizations and politicians.

“Including state boards of elections, secretaries of state and companies that provide software to administer elections,” Rosenstein said.

Illinois State Board of Elections Public Information Officer Matt Dietrich is confident Rosenstein is talking about Illinois’ board of election, but he said the hack in 2016 was not connected to the 108 independent local-level election jurisdictions and no votes were changed.

Those federal efforts include more federal funding for elections security. Illinois got $13 million. That will bring about what Illinois Dietrich said is an important cybersecurity staff member who “knows our system specifically and how we deal with our local election authorities, that is a major, a very important thing for us.”

Illinois elections officials are also setting up a cyber navigator system for all the elections districts. Dietrich urged for confidence in the system.

“There’s no certainty but we believe the cyber navigator program is an important step toward bringing all of those jurisdictions under one umbrella of cybersecurity,” Dietrich said.

A hack in 2016 exposed information of 76,000 Illinois voters. While state officials suspected Russians were perpetrators, Dietrich said this is the first indication that was the case, though they have yet to hear from the feds that Friday’s indictment is directly linked to the Illinois hack.