Public Accountability Report Public Accountability Report

State Board of Elections
(Appropriated Spending in Thousands)
  FY 2021 FY 2020
Reporting Programs Expenditures Headcount Expenditures Headcount
Election Operations Division $ 15,899.1 19.0 $ 3,803.4 20.0
Fund 206 - Cybersecurity $ 4,608.6 3.0 $ 6,034.1 3.0
Campaign Disclosure Division $ 845.2 13.0 $ 840.3 14.0
Non-Reporting Programs
Fund 206 - HAVA Activities  $ 17,014.6 N/A $ 84.3 N/A
Voting and Registration Systems Division  $ 7,849.6 12.0 $ 7,717.4 12.0
Administrative Services Division  $ 1,946.1 12.0 $ 1,918.0 11.0
Information Technology Division  $ 1,366.1 9.0 $ 1,234.2 10.0
Division of General Counsel  $ 402.5 4.0 $ 468.1 3.0
Board Activities  $ 17.4 N/A $ 18.9 N/A
Totals $ 49,949.2 72.0 $ 22,118.7 73.0

Totals may not add due to rounding.

Agency Narrative

The State Board of Elections was created by the 1970 Illinois Constitution as the entity to have “general supervision over the administration of the registration and election laws throughout the state.” Public Act 78-0918 (enacted October 22, 1973) established the structure and specific functions of the Board. The Board is the only central election-related agency for the entire state and is empowered to perform those specific duties that are, or may hereinafter be, prescribed by law. The Board consists of several areas/divisions that perform the operational functions of the agency. The three areas that are primary to the Board’s mandated operations are the Campaign Disclosure Division, the Election Operations Division, and the Voting and Registration Systems (VRS) Division.

Campaign Disclosure Division

The primary function of this division is the administration, implementation, and enforcement of the Illinois Campaign Financing Act (10 ILCS 5/9-15), the Act to Provide for Licensing and Regulating Certain Games of Chance (230 ILCS 15/8-8.1), and the Fair Campaign Practices Act. To this end, the Campaign Disclosure Division oversees the submission of required campaign disclosure reports by applicable campaign committees and related groups, performs review of required disclosure reports, administers corrective action to those entities found in noncompliance, and administers the complaint filing process.

In addition, the Campaign Disclosure Division reviews and approves raffle applications from political committees for fundraising purposes. A new mandate in fiscal year 2009 was the development and implementation of the Business Entity Registration database (BEREP), which receives business entity information from qualifying entities doing or desiring to do business with the state. The purpose of BEREP is to deter unlawful contributions to candidates and officeholders from businesses with state contracts. Day-to-day operations of this database unit are supported by the Campaign Disclosure Division.

Election Operations Division

This division is primarily responsible for administering the candidate petition filing process, administering objections filed against a candidate’s nominating petitions, and ballot certification. Other functions performed by the Election Operations Division include canvassing election results and training local election jurisdiction personnel in election laws and procedures, including conducting election judge training each election cycle.

The Board also distributes lump-sum appropriations for state support of county election judge costs and the payment of county clerk/recorder annual stipends.

VRS Division

This division was created with the passage of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), which resulted in the replacement of punch-card voting systems statewide and the implementation of an integrated statewide voter registration database. The VRS Division is primarily responsible for the testing of voter tabulation systems, the maintenance of the Illinois Voter Registration Database System (IVRS), and the maintenance and support of local election jurisdiction voter registration. Since fiscal year 2004, IVRS has taken a primary role in developing processes and procedures to ensure proper implementation of the HAVA mandates. Completion and start-up operations of IVRS were performed during fiscal year 2009, implementation of an online voter registration program in June 2014, and automatic voter registration (AVR) in 2017. The program communicates directly with all 108 election jurisdictions and enhances voters' involvement in all elections. The Board allocates several million dollars each year to provide funding to election authorities to maintain and upgrade their connections to IVRS. 

In March 2018, the Board received a HAVA Election Security Grant from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The purpose of this grant is to improve the administration of elections for federal office, including enhancements to election technology, and make security improvements to the systems, equipment, and processes used in federal elections. In addition, in accordance with state law (Public Act 100-0587), the Board created and implemented a Cyber Navigator Program and Division to support the efforts of election authorities to defend, detect, and recover from cyber threats. The program consists of enhancements to infrastructure, a cybersecurity information-sharing program, and Cyber Navigators for the local election authorities.

In early 2020, the Board received $14.8 million from the Election Assistance Commission in the form of an additional HAVA grant to cover improvements to the administration of federal elections. The state was required to provide a 20% match, adding approximately $2.96 million to the grant funds. These funds will be used primarily to maintain funding for the current Cyber Navigator Program, to update and replace the current IVRS system, and to fund programs needed to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. In addition, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board was awarded approximately $16.8 million (including the 20% state matching funds) to cover costs incurred as a result of preparing for and conducting a safe election.

In fiscal year 2021, the Board received an additional $70,300 HAVA grant from the Election Assistance Commission to cover improvements to the administration of federal elections. An additional $66,600 was awarded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board also consists of several other divisions that provide support services to the divisions listed above. Those divisions are the Administrative Services Division, the Division of General Counsel, and the Information Technology Division.

 

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