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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Sen. Marco Rubio met with Florida election officials over the Russia threat today

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2018 at 3:52 PM

Earlier this month, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio expressed his concern with Florida's supervisors of elections' overconfidence in relation to potential cyber threats in the November midterms.

But according to a report from the Tampa Bay Times, after meeting with a number of local supervisors in Orlando on Wednesday, Rubio is feeling somewhat reassured with the federal officials.

“Today’s meeting with several local supervisors charged with conducting elections was productive and timely,” Rubio said.

“The Senate Intelligence Committee of which I am a member, the U.S. Intelligence Community and leading security experts have repeatedly warned that our nation’s state election systems are potentially vulnerable to Russian cyber attacks,” Rubio continued. “While I have confidence in the competence and commitment of Florida’s election officials, cyber threats sponsored by a nation state are sophisticated and constantly evolving. Federal funds are already available to states, including Florida, to improve election security. However, in order to effectively confront this threat to our democracy I will be pushing for federal officials to share more information with Florida and other states regarding Russian sponsored attacks during the 2016 elections.”

The meeting reportedly lasted for about an hour and took place at Orlando International Airport. While here, Rubio reportedly met with a number of election supervisors, including Paul Lux of Okaloosa County and the chair of the Election Supervisors Association, Chris Chambless of Clay County, Mark Earley of Leon County, Brian Corley of Pasco County, Craig Latimer of Hillsborough County, Brenda Snipes of Broward County and Alan Hays of Lake County.

“They discussed the public report from the Intelligence Committee and the steps being taken by the supervisors offices,” a Rubio spokesman told the Times in an email. “Was a respectful and productive conversation on all accounts.”

That said, though, the Sunshine State has still yet to complete the required application to qualify for the $19.2 million in federal funds, which is pretty much just collecting dust, to harden election systems.

Last week, Gov. Rick Scott directed Florida's chief of elections to seek the federal money to help counties protect against any possible cyber attacks.

In an apparent phishing expedition, Russian hackers tried to penetrate the voting systems in at least five Florida counties days before the 2016 election, according to a report by the National Security Agency that was leaked last year.

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