Election 2022: Cyberattacks that slowed Champaign County Election Day voting process 'resolved'

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Cyberattacks that slowed voting process in IL county 'resolved'
A cyberattack impacting computer server performance in Champaign County, Illinois slowed the Election Day voting process, the I-Team has learned.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The ABC7 I-Team has learned that a cyberattack impacting computer server performance in Champaign County, Illinois slowed the voting process on Election Day.


Champaign County officials stress that the election is secure and no data has been compromised. State election officials told the I-Team the issue was with a vendor. The state's Joint Operation Center is aware of the issue.

The Champaign County Clerk posted about the attack and its impact on Election Day on their Facebook page, writing: "Champaign County Clerk's Office is aware of connectivity issues and computer server performance being impacted. The Clerk's Office believes these are due to cyber-attacks on the network and servers."

According to the clerk's office's post, they've been experiencing repeated D-DOS attacks for the past month but they say their IT team "has prevented these attacks from being successful and the Clerk's website has remained secured. No data or information has been compromised and the election is secure."

I-TEAM | Security upgrades prepare Illinois election infrastructure for the midterms

The clerk's office wrote on Facebook that the "cyber-attacks are a strategic and coordinated effort to undermine and destabilize our democratic process" and discourage people from voting.

The clerk's office encouraged voters to stay in line as election workers process voters "while navigating these attacks."

As of 1:30 p.m., the spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections told the I-Team that the situation in Champaign County "has been resolved" and the cyberattack is over.

Polls will remain open in Champaign County until 7 p.m. As a reminder, anyone in line by 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Some minor issues reported on Election Day across Chicago area

Some Chicago voters at two dozen precincts complained that they were only provided with one page of a two-page ballot early Tuesday.

Meanwhile, voting in metro Chicago was underway largely without a hitch. There were no similar cyberattack problems reported in the area, only the more basic concern of permanent markers used on ballots, possibly bleeding through of the marking pens-something that voters complained about in the last election.

"We are aware that there is quite a bit of conversation about the use of Sharpies and felt tip pens within online and within social media spheres," Bever said. "But this is where I do want to confirm and Illinois State Board of Elections and I believe a lot of people you're talking to can confirm this is the preferred method and ballots have been designed not to interfere with each side even with some bleed through."

Some Chicago voters at two dozen precincts complained that they were only provided with one page of a two-page ballot early Tuesday.

"There is both a Ballot A and a Ballot B as part of this election," said Max Bever, Chicago Board of Elections. "There was a confusion and a few couple of dozen places where only ballot A was handed out at first."

Bevers continued, "Even if bleed through exists, it will not bleed to the other side and affect the race. The red ovals that are counted by the voting machines are never lined up. So while there might be bleed through onto the other side of the ballot, it's not lining up with a vote or causing any overt vote."

Only two Chicago election judges were sent home for being drunk at 7 a.m. on Election Day - fewer than usual.

And the Chicago Board of Elections reported that only two election judges were sent home for showing up to the polls drunk at 7 a.m. -- fewer than usual.

In DuPage County, the I-Team went behind the scenes where ballots were hustled in under guard to the county government complex in Wheaton.

"Over the next couple hours, we're going to have a lot of people coming through, escorted by DuPage County sheriff's deputies brining the results into our tabulation room," Chief Deputy DuPage County Clerk Adam Johnson said. "The vote tally is removed from the tabulation unit and then uploaded to our central server and then published to the voting public."

DuPage County election officials will have two weeks to continue counting vote by mail ballots, Johnson said.

"Obviously the majority of those will come in over the next couple days, but we do still wait the full two weeks to get any straggling ballots and also to count provisional ballots at the end of the two-week period," Johnson said.