* The information provided below is compiled from various independent organizations working on election defense. US BASE cannot verify the accuracy of all data. Additionally we cannot vet every state or local organization working on election defense.  

Illinois Technology in Use
Verified Voting Foundation

* Note that "Paper Ballot" in the map below typically designates paper ballots counted by an electronic scanning device. 

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Center for American Progress State by State Voting System Report

See State Grade Below
 

Report Excerpt:

"In August 2017, the Center for American Progress released a report entitled “9 Solutions for Securing America’s Elections,” laying out nine vulnerabilities in election infrastructure and solutions to help improve election security in time for the 2018 and 2020 elections. This report builds on that analysis to provide an overview of election security and preparedness in each state, looking specifically at state requirements and practices related to:

1. Minimum cybersecurity standards for voter registration systems
2. Voter-verified paper ballots
3. Post-election audits that test election results
4. Ballot accounting and reconciliation
5. Return of voted paper absentee ballots
6. Voting machine certification requirements
7. Pre-election logic and accuracy testing

This report provides an overview of state compliance with baseline standards to protect their elections from hacking and machine malfunction. Some experts may contend that additional standards, beyond those mentioned here, should be required of states to improve election security. The chief purpose of this report is to provide information on how states are faring in meeting even the minimum standards necessary to help secure their elections.

It is important to note at the outset that this report is not meant to be comprehen- sive of all practices that touch on issues of election security. We recognize that local jurisdictions sometimes have different or supplemental requirements and proce- dures from those required by the state. However, this report only considers state requirements reflected in statutes and regulations and does not include the more granular—and voluminous—information on more localized practices. Furthermore, this report does not address specific information technology (IT) requirements for voting machine hardware, software, or the design of pre-election testing ballots and system programming. And while we consider some minimum cybersecurity best practices, we do not analyze specific cyberinfrastructure or system programming requirements. These technical standards and protocols deserve analysis by computer scientists and IT professionals who have the necessary expertise to adequately assess the sufficiency of state requirements in those specialized areas."

Illinois: C

Illinois adheres to a number of minimum cybersecurity best practices related to voter registration systems and has made system upgrades and made improvements in security protocols since its voter registration system was attacked in 2016. And while the state conducts its elections using paper ballots and voting machines that provide a paper record, the state’s post-election audits lack important criteria. State law currently allows audits to be conducted electronically through automatic re-tabulation, which is vulnerable to hacking. In addition, the number of ballots included in an audit is tied to a fixed amount, regardless of the margin of victory in a ballot contest. The state’s ballot accounting and reconciliation procedures also need improvement. Illinois did earn points for prohibiting voters from returning voted ballots electronically, a practice that election security experts say is notoriously insecure. Encouragingly, although the state does not currently provide cybersecurity training to election officials, it is working to develop an online training program, which will include a cyber-component specific to election security. In addition to offering this training to election officials, the state plans to open the program to other local officials who often share facilities with election administrators. Illinois also exercises good practices by requiring that all voting machines be tested to EAC Voluntary Voting System Guidelines before being purchased or used in the state and for requiring election officials to carry out pre-election logic and accuracy testing on all machines that will be used in an upcoming election.

To improve its overall election security, Illinois must strengthen its post-election audit requirements, adopting more comprehensive measures that test the accuracy of election outcomes. In doing so, the state should look to risk-limiting audits like those in Colorado as a potential model. Illinois should also require pre-election testing for electronic poll books in jurisdictions that use them to ensure that they are in good working order before Election Day. At the same time, backup paper voter registration lists must be made available at these locations in case of emergency. The state can also refine its ballot accounting and reconciliation requirements by requiring counties to compare and reconcile precinct totals with composite results to confirm they add up to the correct number. Precincts should be barred from removing excess voted ballots at random if discrepancies are found between the number of ballots and the number of voters who signed into a polling place.

Minimum cybersecurity standards for voter registration system: Mixed

  • The state implemented a new voter registration system in 2013.

  • The state’s voter registration system has been updated within the past 10 years. The state’s voter registration system provides access control to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to the database.

  • The state’s voter registration system has logging capabilities to track modifications to the database.

  • The state’s voter registration system includes an intrusion detection system that monitors incoming and outgoing traffic for irregularities. The state is upgrading its intrusion detection system to use the latest hardware and software.

  • The state performs regular vulnerability assessments on its voter registration system.

  • The state has enlisted DHS to help assess and identify potential threats to its voter registration system.

  • While the state does not currently provide cybersecurity training to election officials, it is working with another state agency to develop an optional online training program that will include a cyber component specific to election security. In addition to offering the training to election officials, the state plans to open the program to other local officials who often share facilities with election administrators.

  • Electronic poll books are used by some, but not all, jurisdictions in Illinois. Pre-election testing of electronic poll books is left up to the counties that use them. Some counties provide backup paper copies of voter registration lists on Election Day, while others don’t.


Voter-verified paper audit trail: Fair

  • Depending on the jurisdiction, some voters in Illinois cast paper ballots, while others vote using DRE machines with VVPR.


Post-election audits: Fair

  • The state conducts mandatory post-election audits.

  • For votes cast on DRE machines with VVPR, audits may be conducted by manual hand count or electronically through automated retabulation. For paper ballots, audits are conducted electronically through automated retabulation.

  • Audits are conducted on 5 percent of precincts in every election jurisdiction across the state, along with 5 percent of the voting devices used during early voting.

  • The precincts and devices included in the audit are randomly selected.

  • All categories of ballots—regular, early voting, vote by mail, provisional, and UOCAVA—are eligible for auditing.

  • State law requires that there be zero discrepancies between a post-election audit and the initial tally before election results can be certified. An audit can escalate if preliminary outcomes are found to be incorrect. The Department of Homeland Security performs weekly penetration tests on Illinois’s voter registration system. Illinois has a membership with the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center. After learning it had been targeted by hackers in 2016, state officials reportedly took Illinois’ entire voter registration system offline to identify potential problems and make necessary security upgrades. 74 Center for American Progress | Election Security in All 50 States.

  • Audits are open to the public.

  • Audits must be carried out by local election officials prior to certification of election results, but the precise timing varies depending on the jurisdiction. Illinois permits UOCAVA and vote-by-mail voters to submit ballots up to 14 days after an election, meaning that some jurisdictions wait to conduct their audits until after this 14-day deadline, while others begin conducting audits immediately after the preliminary outcomes are determined.

  • An audit can reverse the preliminary outcome of an audited contest if an error is detected.


Ballot accounting and reconciliation: Unsatisfactory

  • All ballots are accounted for at the precinct level.

  • Precincts are required to compare and reconcile the number of ballots with the number of voters who signed in at the polling place. However, to the extent that a discrepancy is found, the discrepancy is resolved by removing excess voted ballots at random in jurisdictions using optical scan machines.

  • Counties are not explicitly required to compare and reconcile precinct totals with countywide results to ensure that they add up to the correct amount.

  • There is no statutorily mandated review process to ensure that all voting machine memory cards have been properly loaded onto the tally server at the county level.

  • The state requires that all election results and reconciliation procedures be made public.

Paper absentee ballots: Fair

  • The state does not permit voters—including UOCAVA voters—to submit completed ballots electronically. All ballots must be returned by mail or delivered in person. 

Voting machine certification requirements: Fair

  • Before being purchased and used for any election in the state, all voting machines must undergo testing by a federally accredited laboratory.

  • Some jurisdictions in the state likely still use voting machines that were purchased more than a decade ago.

Pre-election logic and accuracy testing: Fair

  • The election authority conducts mandatory logic and accuracy testing on all voting machines prior to an election.

  • Testing is open to the public.

  • Testing is carried out at least five days before an election.




State Elections Officials

Illinois Secretary of State



 

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