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Florida Gets $19.2 Million to Beef Up Elections Security

June 8th, 2018 by Jake Stofan
Florida has received $19.2 million in federal funds to help beef up election security ahead of the 2018 election.
The state first said it wouldn’t seek available federal money to increase election security.
Then the Governor ordered an about-face.
The state received the money Thursday, which will be divided up amongst the state’s supervisors of elections.
Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Early says it’s up to each county to decide what it needs.
“Improving firewalls, hardening our network infrastructure, just some of the smaller counties frankly, they have a hard time with budget cuts and all that kind of thing,” said Early.
Some like Ron Labasky with the Association of Elections Supervisors are advocating for new software to help detect when an elections system has been breached.
“Then they can begin to look at where that intrusion may be coming from so that they begin to back up and ensure that there’s no access that’s available,” said Labasky.
While others like former Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho say the most pressing issue is implementing electronic auditing systems.
“The law actually requires that a sham audit be done, which cannot in fact scientifically verify attacks on the system,” said Sancho.
Before any of the money can be spent it has to be approved by the Joint Legislative Budget Commission.
Early says the hope is to put the funds to good use before November.
“Time is critical here. I think most counties have good solutions in place,” said Early. “I think some counties are having funding issues and while they may have good processes they can always be improved.”
So far the Joint Legislative Budget Commission has not scheduled a meeting.
In addition to the new federal dollars the Department of State is in the process of hiring five cyber security specialists to support state and local officials during the 2018 election.

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