State Board of Elections looking for more evidence behind Champaign cyber-attacks

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CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill., (WCIA) — The State Board of Elections is looking into the origin of problems in Champaign County polling locations on Election Day. Issues kept some people waiting longer than they would’ve liked. 

Aaron Ammons, the Champaign County Clerk, said their website has been under attack for about a month, which bled into Election Day. 

The Board of Elections and the Clerk agree that all votes were safe, but the Board of Elections doesn’t fully agree that the cyber-attack is to blame for some of the long lines. 

"We don’t have enough evidence now to say whether, was this an external intruder trying to break in and slowing the system down?” Matt Dietrich, a spokesperson for the Board, said. 

They’re working to uncover the cause behind the long lines. 

"Or, was it perhaps because in Champaign County, they were having to custom print on demand a ballot for every single voter that came into their polling place?” Dietrich said. 

He said Champaign was the only county downstate where people could vote at any location. In Northern Illinois within DuPage County and the City of Chicago, voters could cast their ballots at any polling location as well, and Dietrich said they reported no issues. 

The difference? Dietrich said it may come down to polling logistics in Champaign County. 

"We were told that there were not pre-printed ballots in the polling places for voters who actually, where that was their home polling place,” he said. “The election judge would have to look you up in an electronic poll book, would have to then make sure that you, assign you to the correct ballot style for your precinct, and then you’d have to wait on the printer to print it." 

As for the cyber-attack, Dietrich said they’re still looking for more details. 

"We haven’t seen evidence, we don’t have enough evidence to draw a conclusion either way,” he said. 

On Tuesday, Ammons said the attack created connectivity issues, causing long lines.

Dietrich’s said the State Board of Elections’ cyber security team was not contacted over the last month. But on Wednesday, Ammons said his office is now working with the Board of Elections. 

"We reached out to Champaign County and we offered them any assistance they needed from our state partners,” Dietrich said. 

Ammons added that he is accepting help from the Board of Elections. But, Dietrich said when the Board reached out on Tuesday, it wasn’t a clear yes or no answer at that time. 

Dietrich added that it’s likely Federal Investigators will later be involved. They said there were no other server attacks in the state on Election Day.

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via News | WCIA.com https://www.wcia.com

November 9, 2022 at 07:27PM

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