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Governor Gives Back Election Security Money

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking at a podium in his Press Office, Department of State Secretary Laurel Lee, Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley, and Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux in attendance.
Blaise Gainey

Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis essentially reversed his predecessors’ actions by giving back $2.3 million  to elections supervisors to spend on cyber security. The money was left over from a $19 million grant the federal government gave the state prior to the 2018 primary election.

In 2018 Florida applied for 19 million dollars from the Federal Government for Election Security purposes. The grant was awarded, but former Governor Rick Scott put a deadline on when the money must be spent. By the deadline the state hadn’t spent all the money and $2.3 million was given back to the state government.

Monday Governor Ron DeSantis reversed Scott’s decision.

"I am redistributing $2.3 million in unexpended funds to supervisors of elections to ensure the safest most up-to-date modifications are made to our infrastructure," said DeSantis.

The money will be given directly back to the counties that sent it in. Mark Earley, Leon Counties Supervisor of Elections says for them that’s a small portion.

I believe we returned just over $2,000 and some of that was interest that we gained on the money that had been allocated to us," said Earley.

Also to help out with security, state lawmakers earmarked money for elections supervisors.

Department of State Secretary Laurel Lee explains how that’ll be used.

"In the coming year, we anticipate the $2.8 million that was appropriated by the legislature to be spent in the areas where we have the most critical needs," said Lee.

She says her office and local election supervisors are working together to find out where and what those needs are.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.