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Gov. DeSantis allocates $2.3 million to improve election security in Florida

Posted: 11:21 AM, Jun 17, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-17 18:25:14-04
Gov. DeSantis may address Russian election hacking at news conference on Monday

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to make elections in Florida more secure.

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"Public faith in our elections is a cornerstone of our democracy, and we will take every step necessary to preserve the integrity of our infrastructure," the governor said at a news conference Monday afternoon in Tallahassee.

Gov. DeSantis announced that Florida's Secretary of State will review state and county elections systems to identify any weaknesses or vulnerabilities ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

"Any weaknesses or vulnerabilities that are identified at the state or county level will be addressed prior to the 2020 presidential preference primary," said Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee.

Last month, the governor directed Secretary of State Lee to review the security of state and county elections systems.

It comes after two Florida counties were hacked during the 2016 election by Russian military intelligence. Gov. DeSantis wouldn't confirm which counties were targeted, but said the cyber attack did not have any impact on the outcome of the election.

In a one-page letter to Lee, the governor said the review will focus on cybersecurity and involve all 67 counties.

The governor's letter read, in part:

"The Department (of State) shall develop a plan to identify and address any vulnerabilities. You are further directed to make this a top priority of the department and report your findings to the Executive Office of the Governor upon completion of your review."

Gov. DeSantis also announced on Monday he's redirecting $2.3 million in funds to Supervisor of Elections offices around the state to ensure the safest and most up-to-date changes are made to their elections systems.

The Washington Post and Politico both reported that rural Washington County in the Florida Panhandle was one of the targets of the Russian cyber attack.

WPTV confirmed through Supervisor of Elections offices that Palm Beach, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties were not hacked. St. Lucie County would neither confirm or deny if it was hacked, and Indian River County never got back to us.