Hackers have breached databases for election systems in IL and Arizona, according to state election and law enforcement officials.
As a result, Secretary of State Michele Reagan shut down the state voter registration system for nearly a week.
The breaches are causing concern among election officials because of the voter personal information that could have been stolen, not because of any fear that an election could be stolen, law enforcement officials say.
"This is the closest we've come to tying a recent hack to the Russian government", one unidentified official said, adding "there is serious concern" Moscow may be seeking to create uncertainty in the election process. Bureau officials on Monday declined to comment.
The Kremlin has said repeatedly, and as recently as earlier on Tuesday, that statements accusing Russian Federation of involvement in any cyberattacks on the USA election system or the Democratic Party are groundless, based on nothing and totally unfounded. "It's a huge issue and we're trying to do everything we can to keep our government systems secure".
In a confidential "flash" alert from its cyber division, first reported by Yahoo News and posted online by others, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it's investigating the pair of incidents and advised states to scan their systems for specific signs of hacking.
The bureau has told IL officials that they're looking at possible foreign government agencies as well as criminal hackers, Menzel said.
On July 12, an attack occurred on the Illinois State Board of Elections' voter registration system, prompting a shutdown of the system July 13 as a precaution.
Reid's request comes after reports that foreign hackers breached voting registration websites in Arizona and IL.
The Illinois hackers were able to retrieve voter records, but the number accessed was "a fairly small percentage of the total", said Ken Menzel, general counsel for the Illinois elections board.
The officials said the Russians have always been involved in cyber espionage, with their targets being people in the political scene. The intrusion in IL led to a week-long shutdown of the voter registration system.
I'm less concerned about the attackers getting access to and downloading the information.
"The more concerning part is the potential to possibly modify someone's voter records or delete them", he said.