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Open Letter to Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Nielson from Congressman Brad Schneider


September 14, 2018

Dear Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Nielsen:

We write to unequivocally acknowledge, and universally condemn, the attempts by the Russian Federation to meddle in the 2016 presidential election. As you know, Illinois has been a major target of these malign efforts—the Illinois State Board of Elections was specifically targeted and its voter registration database was breached. As members of the Illinois delegation, we remain committed to working alongside our state and local election officials to harden against future attacks. As such, we respectfully request a briefing from your agencies to discuss steps taken by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security since the last election to secure our voting networks, our current state of preparedness before November 2018, and the ways in which the federal government can further partner with states to address this issue.

Illinois election officials have taken this threat seriously and are diligently working alongside federal agencies to further strengthen our election infrastructure. After learning that Illinois voter registration records were breached by Russian agents in 2016, state officials immediately began working with the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to secure the network. Since then, Illinois officials have continued cooperating with federal agencies to better understand the events that took place and to bolster its electronic databases. Additionally, all state election officials are now required to undergo annual cybersecurity training administered by the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology.

We remain deeply concerned about Russia and other foreign state actors meddling in our elections. The federal government must continue to provide our Illinois election officials with the necessary support to protect its networks. Therefore, we request that your agency brief our Congressional delegation and other relevant officials, including the Chair and Vice Chair of the Illinois State Board of Elections, on these important matters. We appreciate your thoughtful consideration of this request, and we look forward to your response.


U.S. Congressman Brad Schneider


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