News Local/State

Election Hack Hits 80,000 Illinois Voters

State Board of Elections officials at Cybersecurity Subcommittee hearing.

State Board of Elections officials at Cybersecurity Subcommittee hearing. Tom Lisi/NPR Illinois

The State Board of Elections says hackers gained access to the information of 80,000 Illinois voters — including their social security numbers and driver’s licenses.

Elections officials say hackers had access to Illinois’ system for nearly three weeks before they were detected. They did get access to personal information, but officials say that’s about it.

“I don’t know why they selected Illinois. Perhaps they tried other states and weren’t able to get in, they just happened to find the hole in our dike, so to speak,” said State Board of Elections IT Director Kevin Turner.

Turner says they’ve added security measures to prevent a similar data breach.

Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park, says the source of the breach matches an address the FBI has linked to Russian state security, and future elections could be in danger.

“If they know how to operate through our system, not only at our state level, but through our municipalities, there’s no telling what they can do,” Hastings said.

By chance, a lot of the information hackers ended up with came from specific parts of the state. For example, election officials say 14,000 of the affected names were registered in Galesburg.