As I said to our resident Trumpazoid… The issue is a bit bigger than “spearphishing”.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley said Monday that Russian operatives hacked into the State Board of Elections last year to view voter database files, a potential move toward trying to make voters distrust the state and federal election system.
Quigley, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, also warned of a potential “constitutional crisis” over executive privilege between President Donald Trump and the U.S. Supreme Court as part of multiple investigations into possible collusion between agents of the Russian government and Trump’s presidential campaign.
Quigley’s declaration of Russian involvement in the hacking of the state elections board marked the first time the country had been definitively identified as behind the attack last year, though it had been widely suspected.
“The Russians hacked into the Illinois State Board of Elections,” Quigley said after a meeting with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.
“They got into the database,” he said. “I believe they’re on the doorstep to hacking into our voting systems. That is my educated guess.
“I’m not saying I know they’ll do this, (but) think about what you could do. You could check and say, ‘Oh no, all these people already voted, or these people voted absentee.’ Once you get into that, then there’s all kind of mischief,” Quigley said.
The Democrat, who represents the North Side and north and west suburbs, said the intelligence committee should look at classifying election systems as a “target” that should be hardened and given federal resources.
Ken Menzel, the general counsel of the State Board of Elections, said no voter information had been manipulated by hackers. The identification of 3,000 voters was viewed, and hackers may have viewed up to 80,000 more. Those 80,000 received letters letting them know that their driver’s license number or last four digits of their Social Security number may have been seen.
Menzel said the state elections board does not tabulate votes, something that occurs in each of the state’s 102 counties and seven special local election boards. Any toughening of tabulation would involve those local election officials. Menzel said that the manipulation Quigley theorized about would have minimal effect on balloting compared with normal human error at local precincts.
“A lot of election administrators would like more resources and more help, but what kind of help is he talking about? What kind of hardening of things? The election administrators would not be happy with a pile of additional unfunded mandates,” Menzel said.
As for the House Intelligence Committee investigation, Quigley said, “I am concerned we will face a constitutional crisis,” adding it was something he was not saying lightly.