Tazewell Clerk Says Local Elections Are Secure

Oct 3, 2019

Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman says Illinois is at the forefront of election security following the 2016 elections. 

Ackerman hosted a conference for county election officials in Tremont Wednesday to discuss cybersecurity measures in place at the state and local levels.

The event featured speakers from the Illinois State Board of Elections Cyber Navigator Program and voting machine manufacturer Liberty Systems. 

"I believe it's been shown throughout the nation, as others have become aware of what the state of Illinois has done with the Cyber Navigator Program, we are leading the nation in election security," Ackerman said.  

He says local election authorities are now better trained to protect against cyberattacks since the program came online last year. 

Ackerman said it also opens the channels of communication.

"They feed the information back, so that hey, McLean, Woodford, Peoria - Tazewell's been attacked in this manner. And that's important because a lot of this is just copycat," he said. "They find out that something's worked, and then they copy and paste it onto somebody else to see if they can get the next one to fall."

Hackers accessed the state voter database in June 2016. They were able to view the names, addresses, partial Social Security numbers and other data for about 76,000 voters.

Ackerman said the county has successfully fended off multiple phishing e-mail attacks recently.