TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis is tasking Florida's secretary of state to come up with a plan to secure the Sunshine State's election systems, allocating $5.1 million toward cybersecurity for the 2020 presidential election.
- DeSantis says $5.1 million being allocated to election cybersecurity
- Announcement comes after news of 2016 voter database hack
DeSantis made the announcement during a news conference Monday afternoon in Tallahassee.
Florida's Secretary of State Laurel Lee's office will check whether the state's election systems are secure, identify any potential vulnerabilities, and combat any possible attacks, DeSantis said.
The governor's initiative comes about a month after he announced that two Florida counties' voter databases had been accessed by Russian hackers in a "spear-phishing" campaign in the 2016 election. But he said the "intrusions" did not change the outcome of the elections.
Which two Florida counties was not made public, but records indicate that Washington County in the Panhandle was one of them.
Part of the $5.1 million will be given to county supervisors of election to ensure voting safety and to fund any modifications to the state's election infrastructure, DeSantis said.
Lee said the state has to be "ever vigilant" about any possible threats and that officials will search for any weaknesses at the state- or county-level election systems.
DeSantis said the $5.1 million comes from $2.3 million left over from a $19 million federal election security grant that was used for the 2019 election cycle, and the other $2.8 million came from the Florida Legislature to enhance election security for the 2020 election.