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Florida Gov. Puts Millions Toward Election Security Efforts

Election officials in the state will have up to $5.1 million to gird the 2020 presidential election against cyberthreats — $2.3 million from unused federal grants and $2.8 million from the state Legislature.

by Gray Rohrer, Orlando Sentinel / June 18, 2019

(TNS) – Elections officials across the state will have up to $5.1 million to thwart would-be election hackers ahead of the 2020 presidential election, after Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday redistributed some grant funds from the previous year.

Some $2.3 million in unused funds from a $19.1 million federal grant for election cybersecurity for the 2018 election cycle is being rerouted back to counties that failed to spend the money ahead of that election. And the Legislature included $2.8 million toward cybersecurity efforts for the budget year that begins July 1.

DeSantis did not reveal which counties would be receiving the shuffled money.

The Mueller Report released in April about Russian interference with the 2016 elections revealed the FBI believed at least one Florida county was hacked by those working for the Russian government.

In May, DeSantis had a briefing with the FBI in which they said two counties were hacked, but he signed a non-disclosure agreement promising not to reveal the names of the counties. DeSantis said that while hackers accessed the counties’ voter database, nothing was altered and no vote totals were changed.

“While the intrusions did not alter the vote tabulations or affect the outcome of the election, we do not want to see any breaches,” DeSantis said.

Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, whose agency oversees the Division of Elections, said Florida could be a target for foreign hackers again.

“We must remain ever vigilant against constant and evolving threats,” Lee said. “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.”

©2019 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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