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Supervisors Focus On Security Ahead Of Fall Elections


Supervisors of elections throughout Florida are preparing for the upcoming election season, with the secruity of the voting process being a top priority.

After the 2016 elections, such elements as voter registration rolls and machines were designated as "critical infrastructure." That means more funding from the Department of Homeland Security has poured into local elections offices to help protect them.

Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said that money has allowed local elections officials like himself to check the security of registration information and the machines voters will use to cast their ballots.

"A lot of it has to deal with testing of our websites and equipment to make sure they are closed and that firewalls are in place," he said. "Penetration testing also takes place."

The federal government has provided even more money to state officials in the 2018 federal budget. Many Florida supervisors of elections have said they are frustrated that state officials have not yet requested the $19 million offered by the federal government for cyber security infrastructure.

Although the security of their ballot may be in the forefront of the minds of many voters,  Latimer said he isn't as worried about election security. He said it's important for voters to remember that even though there were reports of voter registration data being stolen, no one has ever managed to change vote tallies in any American election.

"A lot of the headlines are incorrect," he said. "There was no voting systems that got hacked in 2016. The registration system is not connected to the tabulation system."

Midterm elections will be held on November 6, 2018.

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Roberto Roldan is a senior at the University of South Florida pursuing a degree in mass communications and a minor in international studies.