TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/CNN) – Governor Ron DeSantis has pledged an additional five million dollars to ensure the security of Florida elections.
On Monday, DeSantis made the announcement at the state’s Capitol. He was joined by Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee and Supervisors of Elections officials.
DeSantis said the Department of State (DOS) has come up with a comprehensive, multi-phase plan “to review and fortify Florida’s election system.”
“To further these efforts, I am redistributing $2.3 million in unexpended funds to Supervisors of Elections to ensure the safest, most up to date modifications are made to our infrastructure. These funds are remaining from a $19 million federal elections security grant provided to Florida for the 2018 cycle but were not spent in time for the 2018 cycle,” said DeSantis.
Watch the governor’s press conference:
The addition millions are coming from the state’s Legislature.
“The Legislature has appropriated $2.8 million for the upcoming fiscal year to continue the efforts to enhance cybersecurity for our election systems in preparation for 2020. So in total, the state is going to have $5.1 million that we will be providing for election cybersecurity,” he said.
Since 2017 when elections were designated as critical infrastructure by the federal government, DOS and Supervisors of Elections have made election security their number one priority.
Last year, DOS provided Supervisors with more than $16 million in grant funding which they used to make critical investments in physical security, cyber security and voting system upgrades, post-election audits, risk assessment audits and purchase and install ALBERT network monitoring sensors. The ALBERT sensors provide 24×7 monitoring and alert officials to system threats when data may be at risk.
Last month, DeSantis said two Florida counties were hacked during the 2016 election by Russian military intelligence. The governor wouldn’t confirm which counties were targeted but did say the cyber attack did not have any impact on the outcome of the election.
In response to the hacking, Gov. DeSantis directed Secretary of State Lee to review the security of state and county elections systems.
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