Rubio presses election commission to provide cybersecurity funding to Florida ahead of midterms

Rubio presses election commission to provide cybersecurity funding to Florida ahead of midterms
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Supreme Court takes up Apple case | Senate votes to block ZTE deal | Officials testify on Clinton probe report | Russia's threat to undersea cables | Trump tells Pentagon to create 'space force' | FCC begins T-Mobile, Sprint deal review Feehery: Betting on Trump Senate votes to block Trump's ZTE deal MORE (R-Fla.) on Thursday issued a request for cybersecurity funding to ensure the state's voting systems are properly secured against hacking ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence and Appropriations committees, urged the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to grant the state funding, noting that foreign actors targeted Florida in the 2016 presidential election and could seek to target the state again in the upcoming midterms.

"With less than six months until Election Day, I urge you to promptly approve the State of Florida’s request so that the state may expedite their plans to strengthen our election systems," Rubio wrote in a letter to Brian Newby, executive director of the EAC. 

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Rubio wrote that Florida needs approximately $19.2 million in funding from the EAC.

"Florida is the third most populous state in the union, and based on reviews of foreign interference in the 2016 election, we know Florida is a target," he said.

"Federal, state and local governments must take proactive measures to ensure that any future attempts to interfere with voter databases or election infrastructure are not successful, and that when Americans go to vote they have the upmost confidence that their votes are properly counted."

The funding would go toward buying new equipment, providing election officials with cybersecurity training, and addressing other election system vulnerabilities, according to the letter, which comes one day after Rubio met with Florida officials to discuss how they could protect the integrity of Florida's election systems. 

Rubio is a member of Senate Intelligence panel, which investigated Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

The committee released the unclassified version of its investigation's findings earlier this month, which found the Kremlin carried out an “unprecedented, coordinated cyber campaign” against U.S. voting infrastructure ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The report also notes that Russia-linked hackers had the ability to “alter or delete voter registration data” in a small number of states before the vote took place.