U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and officials with the Illinois State Board of Elections said Monday they feel confident that positive steps have been taken to ensure the security of the 2020 election in Illinois.

Davis and Sangamon County Clerk Don Gray, who is on the board of advisors to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, visited the state board office and received a briefing on the state’s Cyber Navigator program. They got an example from elections board staff of the type of training given to local county clerks about security, including how to deal with misinformation. An example of such a problem would be if someone made a post on social media that polls were closing early, said Matt Dietrich, spokesman for the board.

Other potential problems include if malware or ransomware affects local computer systems, he said.

“We want to make sure that every local election authority is prepared if something like that happens,” Dietrich said.

Illinois' voter registration database was infiltrated by Russian hackers in 2016, but the state's vote count was never affected.

"Today's visit was all about not pushing under the rug the seriousness of a Russian intrusion here with the state of Illinois," Davis told reporters after the briefing. "It was actually to talk about the positive steps that have been done here in Illinois to make sure that never happens again."

The congressman noted that the federal government invested more than $300 million last year nationwide in election cyber security. He said it was positive that in 2018 election, Illinois didn't see an intrusion in records.

"I'm satisfied that we've got the people in place that are going to do everything they can to keep our election safe, and I'm satisfied that 2018 was a major success story that doesn't get enough attention," Davis said.

As part of the Cyber Navigator program, Dietrich said, the board has nine specialists assigned to geographic zones to work with local election officials.

Dietrich stressed that while Illinois election registration data was breached three years ago, even if that had all been deleted, it could have been restored in a day because there are regular updates from the 108 election authorities in the state — mostly county clerks’ offices. And he said the data breach had nothing to do with vote totals, which have not been affected. None of the local tabulation systems in the state are connected to the Internet, he said.

“You never say you’re 100 percent ready, but we think we are doing what we need to be prepared” for 2020, Dietrich said.

Federal Help America Vote Act funds provided Illinois $13.2 million for cyber security last year. Those funds were matched with about $660,000 from the state, and the money is being used for the Cyber Navigator program, Dietrich said.

Davis is sponsor of an election security bill he hopes to get through Congress. House Resolution 3412, the Election Security Assistance Act, differs from a Democratic bill that passed the House but is not being called in the Republican-controlled Senate, in ways including better communication, in that it would give local county clerks the security clearance needed to get federal information about cyber attacks, Davis said.

He said his bill would provide more than $300 million to help election authorities across the country — much less than a Democratic bill he said promises money that he believes wouldn’t ultimately be appropriated.

“The last thing we need are for local election officials to think that somehow the sugar daddy federal government’s going to come in and immediately buy them everything they need,” Davis said. “That’s not realistic, which is why we set some realistic goals in ours.”

He said he came up with provisions of his bill with help of local officials, but Democrats in Washington rejected “common sense amendments” that Republicans offered to election security legislation.