Friday, August 10, 2018

Florida Secretary of State questions Bill Nelson's claim of election hacking

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 10:31 AM

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner wants clarification from the U.S. Senate on Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson’s comments to reporters that Russians have “penetrated” some voter-registration systems.

Detzner sent a letter Thursday to Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., requesting that federal officials share with his agency any “relevant, classified information about current and potential threats.”

“Additionally, if you, Senator Nelson or any federal agency, government official or elected official has information that verifies that ‘the Russians are in Florida’s elections records,’ I urge immediate transparency and cooperation in sharing that information so that we can take action to protect our elections,” Detzner wrote.

Detzner said he’s been advised by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that they had no information backing Nelson’s claim.

On Tuesday, Nelson told reporters in Tallahassee that local election officials could get help to secure their databases and records from Russian cyber-hacking.

“The Russians are in Florida’s election records,” said Nelson, whose comments came amid his re-election battle with Detzner’s boss, Gov. Rick Scott.

When pressed on the issue of a local election-systems breach, Nelson, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, said the information remained “classified.”

The media questions about election security were raised as a follow to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s recent comments that county election systems remain vulnerable to such hacking.

Rubio has been pressing Congress to support the “Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines Act of 2018,” the Deter Act, which uses the threat of sanctions to dissuade foreign election meddling.

On July 19, state legislators accepted $19.2 million from the federal government to further secure voting systems that were targeted by Russian hackers in 2016.

Detzner has described hackers’ failure to breach election systems in 2016 as a “success story” for Florida.

“No breaches occurred in the state data system, and the Florida voter- registration system was secure, is secure, and will remain secure during the 2018 election,” Detzner told a legislative panel on July 19.

In his letter Thursday, Detzner said he was “very concerned” by Nelson’s comments.

“Let me be very clear, this is a very serious charge made in a public setting without any evidence, details or any prior communication to state or local election officials in Florida,” Detzner wrote.

Tags: , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 14, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation