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State Approves Funds to Beef Up Election Security

July 19th, 2018 by Mike Vasilinda
Everyone of the state’s 67 elections supervisors met Wednesday’s deadline to apply for a share of $19 million for cyber security.
Thursday, state lawmakers approved the cash, but the big questions is how quickly they’ll get the money to spend.
Russian hackers tried at least a hundred times to breach Florida’s elections systems in 2016.
Lawmakers were told none were successful.
“And the Florida voter registration system was secure, is secure, and will remain secure,” said Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner.
A special panel of state lawmakers approved spending of $19 million from the federal government.
It will be used to beef up election year security.
The biggest worry supervisors have is having to rush to spend the money.
A use it or lose it string attached will require the money to be spent now, but time is running short.
“We’re taking about some, in many instances, some very complex equipment. Cyber security protections,” said Ron Labasky with the Florida State Elections Supervisors Association. “Those types of things. Not something you go down and pick off the shelf.”
The cash can’t go toward things already purchased.
The Secretary of State also says it can’t be spend on people, even though that’s how the state is using its $3.7 million share.
“I think it would be duplicative and I think they should use the resources we are making available to them,” said Detzner.
Every county will get as base of $50,000.
The remaining $12 million will be distributed according to an eight-year-old census of voting age people in each county.
Local supervisors will welcome the cash.
“But, I might have held some in reserve to see what happens this election cycle,” said Leon County  Elections Supervisor Mark Early.
One reason the state wants unspent money back is because they’ll need it to update security for the next election.
The State is using its share to hire five top level cyber security specialists.
Four are already on board and a fifth starts soon.

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