election security

Florida was one of 21 states that had its election systems targeted by Russian actors in 2016. A recently released bi-partisan Senate Intelligence Committee report only refers to Florida twice, but an entity with circumstances similar to Florida’s emergences dozens of times in the document and is known as “State 2”.

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 / WFSU-FM

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.

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking at a podium in his Press Office
Blaise Gainey / WFSU

Governor Ron DeSantis says voter data was stolen in 2016 when election systems in two Florida counties were hacked. Previous reporters had identified only one county, but DeSantis says  the breach didn’t impact voting.

With Florida's 2018 general election just weeks away the race for U.S. Senate election officials are growing concerned about the potential for hacking. The issue is now playing a role in the U.S. Senate race, as Governor Rick Scott and Senator Bill Nelson spar over whether the state's  systems are secure.

Poll workers in training at the Leon County Supervisor of Elections office, 2016.
Tori Whitley / WFSU News

Election watchers are trying to avoid a repeat of 2016—when Russian hackers tried to gain access to networks across the county. They didn’t get in—but it’s a cloud that continues to hover over the mid-term cycle.