Hastings Urges Florida Secretary of State to Secure Florida’s Election System Ahead of the 2018 Midterm Elections
Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) led a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, urging him as Florida’s chief state election official to request funds through the Election Security Grants Program to help fortify Florida’s election equipment and systems databases, as well as provide cybersecurity training to election officials. With just seven months before the 2018 midterm elections, this funding for election security could not come at a more critical time.
Joining Hastings’ as co-signers of the letter include: Reps. Val Demings, Lois Frankel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Al Lawson, Kathy Castor, Frederica Wilson, Ted Deutch, and Charlie Crist. (Please find below and attached a copy of the letter):
April 9, 2018
The Honorable Ken Detzner
Dear Secretary Detzner:
In November 2016, 139 million Americans cast their ballots in the midst of a major cyber-enabled influence operation at the hands of the Russian government. According to U.S. intelligence reports, hackers backed by the Russian government targeted voting registration systems in 21 states, and attempted to penetrate voting equipment vendors, political parties, and local election boards.
While most state systems were not breached, the U.S. Intelligence Community has repeatedly warned that Russia will try to disrupt midterm elections in November 2018. In fact, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee: “There should be no doubt that Russia perceived that its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm election as a potential target for Russian midterm operations.”
As you know, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018 (Omnibus) included $380 million to the Election Assistance Commission to make grant payments to states to secure and improve their election systems. These grants, authorized under Title 1 Section 101 of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, will provide much-needed federal funding for improving election security in the states. States are directed to use these funds to replace paperless voting equipment with paper-based voting equipment, implement a post-election audit system, upgrade voting equipment to address cyber vulnerabilities, provide cybersecurity training for state and local election officials, and implement cybersecurity best practices for election systems.
With just seven months before the 2018 midterm elections, federal funding for election security could not come at a more critical time. As instructed by the Omnibus, the Election Assistance Commission will make $19,187,003 available to the State of Florida. We urge you as our chief state election official to request these grant funds to help fortify Florida’s election equipment and systems databases, as well as provide cybersecurity training to election officials.
Thank you for your time and consideration of our request. We look forward to a prompt response.
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.