Gov. Rick Scott says the Secretary of State’s office has now approved more than $14.5 million in security grants to safeguard election systems in all 67 Florida counties. Scott announced the grants for the first 49 counties last month. The remaining 18 Election Security Grants were approved Thursday.
“As we approach the 2018 election season, there is nothing more important than ensuring the security and integrity of Florida’s elections,” Scott said. “In Florida, we are focused on 100 percent participation and zero fraud and this additional funding will help Supervisors of Elections build on their existing infrastructure and enhance security measures so that we can ensure Florida has another successful election in 2018.”
The Department of State drew down $19 million in federal funding to help secure Florida’s elections.
“The Department of State and county Supervisors of Elections have been working diligently to strengthen protections for our elections and ensure the safety of voter information,” said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “I applaud all Supervisors of Elections for working quickly to submit their grant applications in a timely manner so that we can get the funding approved and distributed to them before the 2018 elections.”
The announcement that all 67 counties have been approved for the security grants comes as recent comments made by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson to the Tampa Bay Times suggested that Russian operatives have “penetrated certain counties in the state” and attributed the information to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“The Florida Department of State has received zero information from Senator Nelson or his staff that support his claims,” said Sarah Revell, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s office. “Additionally, the Department has received no information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that corroborates Senator Nelson’s statement and we have no evidence to support these claims.”
“While we are aware of Senator Nelson’s recent statements, we have not seen any new compromises by Russian actors of election infrastructure,” Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Sara Sendek told the Times.”
Nelson’s office told the Times on Thursday: “The senator stands by his statement.”