Tazewell County Clerk’s Office receives two cybersecurity grants

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PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — The Tazewell County Clerk’s Office announced on Monday it has received two cybersecurity grants.

Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman said the office received a $4,127.53 Federal CyberNavigator grant, which will be used to purchase new computers for the Tazewell County Clerk’s election division. The purchase of the new computers will be made soon and they will be utilized for the general election this November.

Additionally, Ackerman said the clerk’s office received an additional Federal CyberNavigator Grant of $1,567.09, which reimburses the cost of Tazewell County IT staff time committed for implementation of these Federal CyberNavigator Grant upgrades. 

Ackerman noted that Microsoft stopped providing security updates nationwide to Microsoft 7 Windows in January, which the County Clerk’s office uses on their computers. The Tazewell County Board had planned to replace all Tazewell County workstations in the coming years to be capable of utilizing Microsoft 10 Windows. However, the election division can now be updated this year, which Ackerman said reduces the burden on Tazewell County property taxpayers.

The remaining county clerk computers in the recorder of deeds, vital statistics, and print shop will still need to be replaced in the upcoming years.

“I want to thank Tazewell County Board Chairman David Zimmerman, the Tazewell County Board, and their Administration Staff for their assistance in making this grant possible,” Ackerman said. “While the CyberNavigator Grant will cover the cost of the new computers, it will not cover the additional $1,237.30 needed for the new Microsoft Office software purchases. Tazewell County Administrator Wendy Ferrill and IT Manager Scott Hizey reviewed their budget and found this additional revenue required to make this project work.”

Since joining the Illinois CyberNavigator Program in February of 2019, the Tazewell County Clerk’s Office has received over $71,204.18 in Federal CyberNavigator Grant funding to improve CyberSecurity of the Tazewell County Clerk’s Election Division.

In addition to this direct grant funding, the State of Illinois Board of Elections has paid directly over $10,000 worth of Federal CyberNavigator Grant upgrades to improve Tazewell County CyberSecurity, which includes the installation last month of a direct secure fiber-optic internet connection for the communication of Illinois Registered Voter Database information.

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