Illinois (ECWd) -
One of our most sacred rights is our right to vote. It is the foundation of our Republic and it is evident from both Federal Indictments and state level computer hacking confirmation, that particular pillar of our system is under attack.
When that happens we see reactive legislation which more often than not tends to not be well thought out, and more about putting a band-aid on things than actually fixing them. The reactive legislation is typically pushed through under the “sky is falling” perspective so we have to do something, all while failing to truly get to the bottom of what is needed to fix the problems.
Illinois is rich in such legislative history.
In 2015, Senate Bill 0172 was passed down party lines after a two-year battle. Passage of that bill was done without any knowledge of the financial impact it was going to have. More details on that event can be found in this article. The bill mandated several things but in short: “Provides that the State Board of Elections shall enter into an agreement with the Electronic Registration Information Center effective January 1, 2016, for the purpose of maintaining a statewide voter registration database.”
Just over a year after that well telegraphed mandated centralization of our voter data, upwards of 500,000 Illinois citizens private information was hacked according to the Federal Indictments handed down recently against Russian operatives. Even though insiders were routinely warning the Illinois State Board of Elections of problems, we still got hacked. We covered this chain of events in these two articles here and here.
In the last article found here, we exposed the SBE's failure to comply with the law pertaining to mandated reporting to consumer credit agencies. Two years have gone by since Illinois voter information was compromised and they still have not followed the law. In that article, I made reference to a law that was cited by the SBE pertaining to a public hearing, however that law could not be found when searching the citation.
I informed both State Representative Brad Halbrook and Senator Chapin Rose about the discrepancy, which initially I just suspected it was a case of it not getting loaded into the system.
Boy was I wrong!
The law, 10 ILCS 5/1A-55, is in fact now official according to the General Assembly however it appears as two separate Public Acts. The first one, cited by the SBE is Public Act 100-0587 and was approved by the Governor June 6th, 2018. Then, just short of a month later, the Governor approves Public Act 100-623, which has a different version of 10 ILCS 5/1A-55 found in the first passed Public Act 100-0587.
Although the two versions of the bill are not dramatically different, the fact remains we now have two versions of the same citation that outlines mandates tied to our Cyber Security of voter information. You can compare those two versions by downloading it here.
Considering this bill deals with our Cyber Security issues and is tied directly to our personal and private information found in our voter registration, are we out of line to ask how the hell does this happen?
According to Senator Rose's Chief of Staff, "Apparently, the ILGA passed two versions of this section (also in PA 100-623) very similar but not exactly identical. This has caused a slight delay in reconciling the two versions."
We have asked how you "reconcile" two separate Public Acts. Although not familiar with all the rules pertaining to the passage of our laws, it would seem very strange to simply "reconcile" two versions of a law that was voted on separately and both versions approved by the Governor. Which law would a Judge point to in such a case citing that citation?
Was this yet another legislative rush job to address the problems created from a poorly thought out bill in 2015?
One thing is for sure, this is a huge mistake that points to people not reading the bills before them. In fact, I would argue that one statutory law being added to the Election code that is able to have two versions not only get out of committee but pass both houses and then approved by the Governor is nothing short of incompetence on a grand scale. Especially when it deals with our voter information and Cyber Security.
With the vast exposure of everything from the criminal hacking of our private information to incompetence by public officials through their failure to follow the law to help protect our information, two things are becoming very clear to me.
- Mandated picture ID for everyone to vote
- Paper Ballots!
Anything short of that prior to this mess being fixed and fixed properly points to a lack of understanding how important our security of personal information is to our Republic.
I am going to assume our articles have gotten our Illinois US Congressman's attention as they have now called for a Briefing, to include our Illinois Chairman and Vice Chairman of our State Board of Elections. This letter was dated yesterday, the day after our article exposing the SBE failure to follow our law.
Yes, this is a serious matter!