With fresh media reports that Russians hacked into and potentially compromised election systems in Florida and six other states in 2016, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham called Wednesday for Gov. Rick Scott to take immediate action to protect Florida’s election infrastructure.
“Dangerous Russian interference in the 2016 election is not only confirmed, but it happened right here in Florida. President [Donald] Trump has deliberately and outrageously refused to address these cyber threats and protect our American democracy, so our state must act — Governor Scott must act,” Graham said in a news release from her campaign.
“This is not a partisan issue. Faith in our government depends on confidence that our elections are not influenced by any foreign power.”
In addition to citing the NBC reports from Tuesday, Graham referred to testimony in the past month by U.S. Cyber Command Chief Admiral Mike Rogers and FBI Director Christopher Wray, stating that President Trump has not directed them to defend our country from future Russian cyber attacks on our voting systems.
The Florida Department of State said late Wednesday it was notified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that Florida was unsuccessfully targeted by hackers last year. This attempt was not in any way successful and Florida’s online elections databases and voting systems remained secure, the department noted.
Graham contended it must be addressed.
“Governor Rick Scott cannot sit idly by and continue passing the buck to Trump. We can not rely on this president to protect America and our next election from foreign interference,” Graham said. “Scott must immediately direct the Florida Department of State to protect our vote in 2018 to prevent the Russians from tampering with our state elections.”
Scott’s office and the Florida Department of State responded late Wednesday saying they already were addressing the concerns, dating from an earlier report from September about possible Russian interference.
Additionally, Scott’s recomended 2018-2019 budget includes nearly $2.5 million and five positions to enhance cyber security at the Department of State’s Division of Elections, the governor’s office noted.
Graham, a former member of Congress from Tallahassee, faces former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Winter Park businessman Chris King in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary for Governor. The leading Republicans are U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.