voting

With five months before primary season begins, election officials around the country are busy buying new voting equipment.

Their main focus is security, after Russians tried to hack into U.S. election systems in 2016. Intelligence officials have warned that similar attacks are likely in 2020, from either Russia or others intent on disrupting U.S. elections.

Judge Raises New Question In Felons Voting Fight

Aug 15, 2019

A federal judge added a new twist Thursday in the legal battle over whether convicted felons who’ve served their time behind bars should be required to pay court-ordered financial obligations before voting rights are restored.

Plaintiffs in the case are challenging a state law that carries out a constitutional amendment granting voting rights to felons “who have completed all terms of their sentence, including parole or probation.” The amendment, approved by voters in November, excluded people “convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense.”

MIAMI HERALD file

The Florida Democratic Party has launched a 24-hour hotline for voters to report any problems with registration or casting their ballots as party leaders try to get a jump on what they say are Republican-led voter suppression efforts in one of the country’s most important swing states.

The hotline — 1-833-868-3352 — went live Monday, according to Executive Director Juan Peñalosa. It is manned by paid staff and volunteers versed in Florida election law, he said.

Phil Sears / AP

A proposed new “citizens amendment” could be on the ballot for Florida voters in 2020. It would replace two words in the state constitution with one word. Instead of saying every citizen can vote, it would say only a citizen can vote.

The measure is picking up steam, even though it’s already illegal for noncitizens to vote. In fact, a group called Florida Citizens Voters has raised more than $4.6 million and says it has gathered more than double the amount of signatures that a petition needs to be included in next year's ballot. 

The new voter protection director for Florida Democrats told party activists on Saturday that they should assume there will be a recount during next year's presidential election.

Puerto Ricans who live in Florida need to register to vote here, in order to have a say in the island’s future. That’s the message from the chair of the Puerto Rico Democratic Party as he tours Florida this week. 

Scott Keeler / Associated Press

Describing it as a “top priority,” Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday directed Secretary of State Laurel Lee to immediately start a review of the security of state and county elections systems after disclosures about Russian hacking during the 2016 campaign.

In a one-page letter to Lee, the state’s top elections official, DeSantis indicated the review will focus on cybersecurity and involve all 67 counties.

Florida lawmakers this month approved a controversial bill that is expected to make it harder to put citizens’ initiatives on the ballot.

Nearly a year after a federal judge’s ruling allowed early-voting sites on college and university campuses, state elections officials and plaintiffs in the case remain locked in a legal battle.

Most of the discussion about a recently passed elections bill has focused on 2018’s Amendment 4. It restored the right for certain felons to vote. But the bill does many more things aimed at fixing issues within Florida’s elections system.

The search is on to determine which two Florida counties’ voter data was accessed by Russian hackers.

A South Florida Sun Sentinel investigation found that at least 13, and as many as 20, elections offices in Florida were sent an email by GRU, a Russian military intelligence agency. According to an FBI investigation, that email included an attachment that appeared to be a harmless Word document, but contained software that allowed the sender to access the computer files of anyone who opened the attachment.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

Florida lawmakers were angry Thursday when they emerged from an FBI briefing that left them with unanswered questions about the two county election offices in their state that were breached by Russian cyberattacks in 2016.

Russian hackers breached the systems of two county elections systems in Florida in 2016, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday at a news conference. DeSantis said no data were tampered with and vote tallies were not affected.

The intrusions, which had not ever been publicly confirmed, were first disclosed in special counsel Robert Mueller's report about Russian interference in the 2016 election last month.

A federal judge is requiring 32 counties – including Clay, Duval and St. Johns counties - to provide Spanish-language ballots and other assistance to Spanish-speaking voters in Florida’s March 2020 presidential primary election.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The FBI will brief Florida’s congressional members this week on Russian attempts to hack the 2016 election, after the Mueller report revealed last month that the election system of at least one Florida county was compromised.

But even before details emerge, a former supervisor of elections in Florida is saying he is not surprised that the state’s system was compromised. Ion Sancho, the longtime former supervisor of elections of Leon County, said Friday on The Florida Roundup that Florida’s election infrastructure is, frankly, “not secure.”

Pages