IL State Board of Elections’ executive director placed on administrative leave after becoming victim of ‘online extortion attempt’


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illinois State Board of Election’s executive director was placed on administrative leave after officials said he was the victim of an “online extortion attempt.”

In a news release, State Board of Elections officials said Steve Sandvoss reported the attempt last week to the Illinois State Police. “Based on Director Sandvoss’ description, the attempted extortion scheme appeared typical of many such online scams,” said board officials.

However, the board voted unanimously to be cautious and take this step because the attempt targeted a top official with their organization. “The board authorized Assistant Executive Director Bernadette Matthews to assume directorship at this time.”

The agency’s chief information security officer, Jeremy Owens, was authorized to “cooperate fully” with the investigation being done by the Illinois State Police, according to board officials. They also said an internal assessment will be done with all the SBE devices to which Sandvoss had access and make sure the Board’s systems are safe.

“At this time, there is no reason to believe that any election data or information has been compromised,” said officials.

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