Florida governor announces statewide plan to secure election systems

Florida governor announces statewide plan to secure election systems
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Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantis FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Overnight Defense: Suspect in Pensacola shooting identified as Saudi aviation student | Trump speaks with Saudi king after shooting | Esper denies considering 14K deployment to Mideast Suspect in deadly Pensacola air station shooting a Saudi national MORE (R) on Tuesday announced a $5.1 million statewide initiative aimed at securing Florida’s voting systems against cyberattacks ahead of the 2020 elections.

Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee and all 67 supervisors of elections throughout the state will participate in the program, with the goal of eliminating “any vulnerabilities in our elections infrastructure,” DeSantis said in a statement.

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The Florida Department of State will distribute $2.3 million to election supervisors to make security improvements, adding to the $2.8 million for election security efforts already approved by the state legislature as part of the fiscal 2020 budget.

The Florida State Department, in partnership with election supervisors, will conduct assessments of state voting systems ahead of the primaries in March. The agency will also begin regularly monitoring election supervisors’ networks to check for vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity training and information technology support will be offered to election officials.

The announcement of the program comes a month after DeSantis directed Lee to conduct an election security review of state voting systems. That move came after DeSantis said hackers gained access to voting databases in two counties during the 2016 elections.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE disclosed in his 448-page report on Russian interference in the 2016 elections that Russian hackers gained access to the network of at least one Florida county that year.

Lee said in a statement Tuesday that “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.”

Tammy Jones, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, said that election officials “greatly appreciate” the announcement of the new program, and the funds that will be given to election supervisors.