* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service…
Testifying before the House Appropriations-General Services Committee on Sunday, officials from the Illinois State Board of Elections said Senate Bill 6 provides the department with $20.5 million.
But Elections board Chairman Charles Schultz said the appropriation doesn’t account for implementing proposed Automatic Voter Registration legislation because it would take additional funds to update hardware and software.
Schultz also said the elections board’s voting infrastructure would be threatened as its information technology and cyber security vendors, who are already waiting on payment for work that’s been done, could [not] go further without payment.
Board officials also said if there is no agreed-upon budget, they’d have to turn their internet off to maintain network security. The state’s election board suffered a breach last summer where intruders were able to capture some personal voter information, but not signatures or histories, nor was anything changed within the system, the board said.
The consequences were again hammered home earlier Sunday in testimony before the House General Services Appropriations Committee. Kevin Turner, director of information technology for the Illinois State Board of Elections, said the agency does not have enough computers to quickly dispatch with candidates filing nominating petitions late this fall for the 2018 election. There’s been no money for replacing obsolete work stations and without $25,000 for new ones, lines will be long, Turner said.
“We may be doing it in the parking lot using abacuses,” Turner joked.
Turner added that the board, which suffered a breach of election data by a foreign hacker last summer, is two years behind on paying as much as $9,000 for online antivirus protection and if it doesn’t catch up this fall, “we would have to unplug our agency from the internet.”
Um, if they can’t find a way to move around $9,000, then I don’t know what to tell them.