FBI issues new election security warning

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In Chicago, not too many years ago, election crimes involved bare-knuckle campaigning at the polls, ballots disappearing in car trunks, and chicanery with the nursing home vote.

But now with the high stakes of presidential politics, the potential mischief has gone high tech and federal law enforcement is putting people on high alert.

With the presidential election less than two months away, there is a new warning from the FBI concerning the potential for election crimes.

President Trump again planted seeds of doubt about the integrity of the November 3 election.

"We want to make sure the election is honest and I'm not sure that it can be I don't, I don't know that it can be," the president said.

The FBI warned voters Thursday about potential election crimes; urging Americans to be on the lookout for ballot fraud, campaign finance violations, patronage offenses, and voter suppression and intimidation.

"We haven't seen cyber attacks this year on voter registration databases or on any systems involving primary voting, and to our knowledge no foreign government has attempted to tamper with U.S. vote counts," said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

The election tampering threat from foreign governments, primarily the Russians, dominated 2016's campaign and voting cycle. It began with a breach by Russian hackers of the Illinois voter database and the theft of a half million files, mostly personal voter information.

The pre-2016 attack on Illinois state computers and other government and party systems was considered a warning shot for U.S. law enforcement that has resulted in broad counterterror tactics, costing millions of dollars to prevent similar problems this year.

With the election 40 days away, FBI officials in Chicago and across the country are encouraging the public to report potential election crimes, about anything from disinformation to suspicious political solicitors.

On Illinois' list of election crimes is double voting. A few times recently President Trump has urged people to vote by mail and also go to the polls on Election Day to see if they can also vote there.

Election officials say you shouldn't do that because it is a crime.

Even here in Illinois, where vote fraud was once considered a fine art, these days attempting to vote early and vote often could land you in jail. Authorities say it wouldn't work anyway because of safeguards to prevent it.
Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.