Monday, June 17, 2019

Florida will provide $5.1 million for election cybersecurity ahead of 2020 election

Posted By on Mon, Jun 17, 2019 at 5:07 PM

The state will provide election officials with a total of $5.1 million to help their continued efforts in enhancing Florida's cybersecurity efforts ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday.

The increase in funding comes after DeSantis opted to redistribute $2.3 million in unspent funds from a $19.1 million federal grant for election cybersecurity originally intended for the 2018 mid-term elections, after several counties weren't able to spend the money prior to the election.

The additional funding will now be lumped together with the $2.8 million in election cybersecurity funding already appropriated by the state Legislature earlier this year for the budget year that begins next month.

It's unclear from the governor's news release which of the state's 67 counties will receive a share of the money, or if it will be equally divided among them.

The release does say the Florida Department of State and supervisors of elections will use the funds to conduct an assessment to help evaluate weaknesses in the state's systems, as well as identify human vulnerabilities.

The state claims all weaknesses or vulnerabilities will be sorted out by the time the 2020 presidential primary kicks off in March 2020.

The DOS will also establish regular monitoring of supervisors of elections' networks as a means of keeping tabs on potential vulnerabilities. Additional training will also be provided to DOS and supervisors of elections' staffs.

In his report released in April, Special Counsel Robert Mueller made particular note of Russian hacking efforts and interference that took place during the 2016 presidential election. The report said it found that at least one Florida county was hacked by the Russians during this time.

Florida officials have since claimed the voter tabulation system was not compromised and that there was no indication of a potential hack. 

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