Posts tagged with "Election security"

Schumer predicts ‘Moscow Mitch’ will capitulate on election security

August 5, 2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) rarely budges in the face of political pressure. But Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) thinks election security could be the exception, according to a report by Politico.

Calling the political plays on August 1, Schumer anticipated that—under the pressure of the “Moscow Mitch” campaign (a moniker that McConnell is said to dislike intensely)—the GOP leader soon would buckle and take up federal election security, a once-bipartisan issue.

“I predict that the pressure will continue to mount on Republican senators, especially Leader McConnell, and they will be forced to join us and take meaningful action on election security this fall,” Schumer said. “My prediction is our relentless push is going to produce results.”

McConnell is being bashed by pundits, Democrats, and even former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and current presidential candidate Julián Castro as “Moscow Mitch.”

In response, Politico said, this week, McConnell mounted a forceful defense on the Senate floor of his decision not to move forward on federal election security bills. He called suggestions that he’s “un-American” or a tool of Vladimir Putin a “smear” and an example of “modern-day McCarthyism.”

“I worked to ensure Congress sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the states to improve their defenses, and applauded the whole-of-government efforts that the administration continues,” McConnell said on July 29. “Some of my colleagues quickly pivoted right back into hysterical accusations that only fan the flames of this modern-day McCarthyism. These pundits are lying when they dismiss the work that has been done.”

But Democrats remain unconvinced that enough is being done to protect the election system from attacks by the Russians, as well as other incursions.

Senator Schumer even  suggested that—because he has not “heard one good reason from Republicans why they shouldn’t do it”—there could be something more nefarious afoot, Politico reported.

“Is it, I hope not, that they think if Russia interferes it will be benefit them? Is it, I hope not, that they’re afraid of President Trump who has this childish and puerile view that if he admits there is Russian interference it makes his election illegitimate?” Schumer asked on Thursday.

Research contact: @politico

Florida governor announces $5.1M plan to secure election systems for 2020

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