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  • Megann Horstead

U.S. Reps. Underwood, Casten address concerns about Illinois election security

U.S. Reps. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, and Sean Casten, D-Downers Grove, are among the suburban Illinois lawmakers that raised questions for election security during an Oct. 15 field hearing in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District.

Also in attendance for the committee meeting, held at Gurnee Village Hall, was U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District, Matt Masterson of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Steve Sandvoss of Illinois Board of Elections, Elizabeth Howard of Brennan Center for Justice, and Robin O’Connor of Lake County Clerk’s Office.

Among the resources for election officials reviewed during the field hearing were the Cyber Navigator Program, election security grants and legislative reform.

Understood said it makes sense for the Homeland Security Committee to convene in her district.

“Congress has recognized the challenges that come with improving decades-old election infrastructure and has provided critical funding and assistance to states since our state was hacked in 2016,” she said.

U.S. intelligence officials have confirmed foreign interference occurred in the 2016 elections, officials said. In Illinois, this resulted in foreign actors accessing the records of 76,000 Illinois voters.

The committee’s hearing was a first for Illinois’ 14th Congressional District, officials said. There are 108 election authorities in Illinois.

Casten questioned to what extent proportionally authorities should prioritize concerns for targeted voter suppression or the changing of votes.

“We think about it as a hybrid threat,” Masterson said.

Underwood asked what benefits the Cyber