* NBC News updates us on what Illinois has done since 2016, when Russian hackers stole data on 76,000 voters…
From a strip mall office here in the state’s capital, [Steve Sandvoss, executive director of the Illinois State Board of Elections] and his team are coordinating staff training in more than 10,000 voting precincts on how to implement a new Cyber Navigation Program meant to strengthen defenses, including a multistate information sharing program.
Illinois Board of Elections IT Director Matt Emmons also said cooperation between the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and his state has improved greatly since the last federal election.
“Nobody in this job would ever give you a 100 percent guarantee about anything,” said Emmons, “but I will tell you we are in a much better position that we were in 2016 — both internally, and I believe, as a country.”
Right now, however, only about 25 percent of the state’s more than 100 voting districts and 10,000 precincts are fully signed on to the Cyber Navigation Program, according to Emmons.
Will it be 100 percent by the election?
“Well, that’s our goal,” said Emmons.
Election day is just eight weeks from this coming Tuesday.
*** UPDATE *** From Matt Dietrich at the state board…
Rich – a couple points about your post on the NBC Nightly News segment on cybersecurity here. While the written story that accompanies the video attributes the 25 percent participation figure to our IT director, the quote actually came from Executive Director Steve Sandvoss in the interview (at the 2:28 mark) and was not a reference to participation in the Cyber Navigator Program. It was in answer to a question of how many local jurisdictions at that time had signed up to get notices from the Multi-State Information Sharing Program (MS-ISAC). Participation in MS-ISAC will be one of the requirements for Cyber Navigator Program members but we had already begun encouraging local election authorities to participate in it (and in EI-ISAC, the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing Program) even before the Cyber Navigator Program was established in the state budget.
Go to the 2:28 mark in the video and you’ll see that the question referred to MS-ISAC. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISxiLH57_oI
Second, that interview was done here on Aug. 1, the day we held the second public hearing on the Cyber Navigator Program to establish the rules of the program for forwarding to JCAR. We are now working with DoIT to complete the hiring of the nine Cyber Navigators who will go to the local election authorities to conduct risk assessments. Once the program is fully formed, we will begin signing local authorities onto it. We have been in contact with the local jurisdictions to encourage their participation and, especially, to make sure they know that their participation is required for them to receive any grants from the federal HAVA grant that remain after the Cyber Navigator Program is up and running. (We are required by the state budget to spend at least half of the total $13.9 million in federal/state HAVA funds on the Cyber Navigator Program).