June 19, 2019
The State of Florida won’t be counting any “hanging chads” after the 2020 election, if Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has anything to say about it. He launched a $5.1 million statewide initiative on June 18, aimed at securing voting systems against cyberattacks ahead of the next presidential elections.
“I am pleased to announce that the Secretary of State and all 67 Supervisors of Elections will engage in a cooperative, joint cybersecurity initiative ahead of the 2020 elections that will identify and address any vulnerabilities in our elections infrastructure,” DeSantis noted in an official statement.
“Additionally,” he said, “the Department of State [DOS] will redistribute $2.3 million in funding to Supervisors of Elections so they can continue to make any necessary election security upgrades, in addition to the $2.8 million already appropriated for the fiscal year. In total, the state is giving $5.1 million for elections cybersecurity as we head into 2020.”
DOS and Supervisors of Elections will conduct a thorough elections-specific assessment and evaluate weaknesses in Florida’s elections systems as well as identify the potential for “human vulnerabilities,” DeSantis avowed, adding, “Any weaknesses or vulnerabilities that are identified at the state or county level will be addressed or mitigated prior to the 2020 Presidential Preference Primary in March 2020.”
In addition, DOS Cyber Navigators will provide cybersecurity trainings for DOS, Supervisors of Elections and staff; as well as work with the DOS Information Technology team to provide IT support to small counties with limited resources.
“I applaud Governor DeSantis for making election security a top priority for his administration and I commend Florida’s 67 Supervisors of Elections for their strong willingness to work together to ensure our elections are protected,” commented Secretary of State Laurel Lee. “The Department of State will ensure that no county stands alone against foreign threats to Florida’s elections, and that every Floridian can have confidence in the integrity of our elections and the security of their vote.”
“On behalf of Florida’s Supervisors of Elections, we greatly appreciate Governor DeSantis’ commitment to election security as well as the redistribution of $2.3 million in funding to support our efforts,” said Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections President Tammy Jones. “All 67 Supervisors of Elections stand ready to partner with the Secretary of State on this important initiative and we look forward to working together to keep Florida’s elections secure in 2020 and beyond.”
Research contact: @GovRonDeSantis