“High-tech gadgetry”; does that make you feel more secure about voting…?
[…] Will your vote count? Florida’s secrecy about election security makes it nearly impossible to know
But now, public records obtained by USA TODAY NETWORK-Florida help pull back the veil and provide a more detailed look at how election supervisors in all 67 counties spent their share of the $14.6 million in federal grant allocations:
- The largest share — about $8 million — went to high-tech gadgetry to secure the voter database, upgrade outdated network systems and servers, and improve the security of the elections system.
- The single largest chunk of those election security funds given to Florida — $3.6 million — was used to buy electronic poll books that help protect voter data and allow for quick verification of voter eligibility, which guards against people voting twice.
- And $2.4 million went to beefing up the physical security of the ballots so they can’t be destroyed or stolen. One county bought bulletproof panels for its registration area, and seven counties bought “bollards,” the concrete pillars that prevent cars from crashing into building entrances.
Has it worked? “Absolutely. So far it’s worked because nobody has been hacked,” said Mark Earley, Leon County’s supervisor of elections and vice president of the Florida Supervisors of Elections association. “The proof is in the pudding.”
State and federal officials continue to say the 2016 hacks didn’t affect the actual votes cast or change the outcome of the election that year. The 2018 general election and the March 2020 presidential preferential primary also were unscathed by hacking or spear-phishing attempts.