Illinois election officials are “pretty sure” their state’s voter database was cited Friday in a slew of federal indictments issued by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
U.S. Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments against 12 Russian agents connected with that country’s clandestine military intelligence agency, GRU. The indictments allege the Russians hacked into and manipulated American voting systems.
The indictments came days before President Donald Trump, a regular critic of Mueller’s probe, was scheduled to meet privately with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
The hack successfully exposed personal information of 500,000 voters in one state, Rosenstein said, though neither he nor Department of Justice filings indicated which state was affected.
Hours later, Illinois Board of Election spokesman Matt Dietrich said state officials were confident Rosenstein was referring to a massive hack of Illinois’ voter database in the lead-up to the 2016 general election.
The timing of the discovery listed in the indictment, July 12, 2016, coincides with when Illinois election officials discovered a massive breach of the state’s voter rolls, Dietrich said.
Later in 2016, Illinois notified 76,000 voters that a hack had exposed their personal information, Dietrich said. The cyberattack exposed names, addresses, dates of birth and driver’s license numbers, says the Justice Department’s court documents.
While federal officials put the number of voters involved at 500,000, Illinois officials have said the number is probably less than 100,000. The difference is likely due to varied methods to assess a hack’s scope between state and federal law, Illinois officials said. State officials identified individual voters whose information was accessed. Federal officials instead measure the total number of queries made within a system, officials said.
There have been no reports of “adverse effects” to Illinois voters such as stolen identities or fraudulent charges to credit cards, officials said.