State Board of Elections head to resign in June

State Board of Elections head to resign in June

Resignation comes after reported online extortion attempt

Capitol News Illinois

SPRINGFIELD —The executive director of the Illinois State Board of Elections, who was placed on leave after being the subject of an extortion scheme online, will resign effective June 30, according to an agency news release.

Steve Sandvoss made the announcement about his resignation at an elections board meeting Tuesday morning.

Sandvoss has been on leave since April 5 following a personal online extortion attempt that he reported to the Illinois State Police. The ISP denied a freedom of information act request by Capitol News Illinois seeking details of the reported incident.  

The board has not released details about the online extortion attempt, other than that an agency internal investigation by its chief information security officer “revealed that no SBE data or systems had been compromised in the incident,” according to Tuesday’s news release.

Matt Dietrich, ISBE spokesperson, said that internal investigation is completed.

The board has approved Bernadette Matthews to serve as interim executive director until a permanent replacement is named.

Matthews previously served as assistant executive director of the agency, a role she has held since 2017, according to her LinkedIn page. Before that, she was the agency’s deputy general counsel for nine years.

Sandvoss, 55, joined the Illinois State Board of Elections in 1988.

He became executive director in January 2015 after serving as the agency’s general counsel starting in 2004.


Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.


Sarah MansurSarah Mansur

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