NewsPasco County


Supervisor of Elections across the state training in cybersecurity to protect 2020 election

Posted at 6:15 PM, Oct 30, 2019

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Supervisor of Elections office across the state are beefing up security to protect your vote come the 2020 election. This comes after Florida’s top elections officer admitted threats from “domestic and foreign actors” are a daily occurrence.

"The fact that it happened in 2016 is undeniable and the fact it’s happening currently is undeniable and going into 2020 it’s something that keeps me up at night,” said Brian Corley, the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections.

The Mueller Report, earlier this year, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis identified at least two Florida counties that were hacked during the 2016 election cycle, which highlighted the need for better security.

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But he says that’s not to say they aren’t prepared - quite the opposite. He says the state has been investing in cyber security training with the Department of Homeland Security.

"The bad guys only have to be right one time, we have to be right 100% of the time,” Corley said.

Governor DeSantis even ordered a statewide review of the departments systems.

Last week, supervisors in all 67 counties met in Orlando for a table-top exercise going through threat scenarios and responses.

"If somebody would have told me in September 2016 that I would literally spend a ridiculous amount of my time in learning as much as I can about cyber security, I would’ve said you’re crazy but yet here we are,” said Corley. "The threats are real and they are constantly evolving.”

He says worst case scenario paper ballots can be used to ensure the integrity of an election.

He says the other side of the coin - hackers have attempted and were successful in infiltrating social media to not only erode voter confidence but polarize Americans. He says voters need to be careful what they re-tweet, like, or share and do their research to weed out propaganda and false information.

"The thing I worry about is continued polarization. You know, the toxicity level, everyone just needs to take it down a few dozen notches if you will,” he said.

So far the state has invested millions of dollars in cyber security training and to install network monitoring systems. The goal is to set up a cyber security bureau as well.