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Unspent Security Funds Will Go Back to Elections Supervisors, With Some Extra

June 17th, 2019 by Jake Stofan

Help is on the way to Florida’s 67 Supervisors of Elections ahead of the 2020 election cycle.

Last year, they collectively had to return more than a million dollars meant to enhance election security back to the state, but the Governor has announced they’ll get a second chance to spend the cash, with some extra.

On May 22, the Governor Ron DeSantis ordered the Secretary of State to come up with a plan to ensure the state and counties’ election systems were secure.

The Governor said Monday that the plan is moving forward.

“The plan will first asses the security of Florida’s elections systems and identify any vulnerabilities,” said DeSantis. “If vulnerabilities are identified the will be addressed.”

Last year, $19.2 million was made available to the state’s Supervisors of Elections to enhance election security, but not all of the money was spent.

$1.4 million had to be returned to the state, but DeSantis said he’s making $2.3 million in unexpended funds available for security enhancements.

“To ensure the safest most up to date modifications are made to our infrastructure,” said DeSantis.

The announcement came after it was revealed two Florida counties’ election systems were hacked in 2016.

Secretary of State Laurel Lee said the state is committed to preventing future hacks.

“The Department of State will ensure that no county stands alone against foreign threats to Florida’s elections,” said Lee.

The money will go to back to the counties that were unable to spend their share in 2018.

One of the reasons the cash went unspent was because the state put overburdensome requirements on how it could be spent.

DeSantis said that won’t happen this time around.

“I don’t want to grind this process to a halt because you’ve got to dot a hundred different I’s and cross a hundred different T’s,” said DeSantis.

The $2.3 million will be added to another $2.8 million appropriated by the Legislature, giving supervisors another $5.1 million to share on security.

The Governor says he’ll ask for additional funds in his 2020 Budget Request if any vulnerabilities are identified throughout the review.

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