Amid ongoing concern of new interference in Florida’s elections, tensions persist between counties and Gov. Rick Scott’s administration over how to use federal election security money. The feds created a $380 million program for states to fortify their voting systems against the threat of cyber attacks. Florida, a battleground state where Russians tried and failed to penetrate systems in 2016, remains an obvious target. Now, the latest: Florida’s Division of Elections has told counties that the state’s $19 million share of new federal voting security money cannot be spent to reimburse counties for expenses already made. Some counties acted on their own because the state applied for the money later than other states did.
“There are counties that have already expended county funds and they would like to be reimbursed for these things,” said Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux.
Another concern is the deadline — today, July 18 — for counties to tell the state in writing how they would spend their shares. Counties that miss the deadline won’t get any money, but the state has said it will allow them to revise their proposals.
“Yes, that is an issue. Yes, I have asked repeatedly for that deadline to be moved,” Lux said. “My biggest fear of too fast of a deadline is that people may be tempted to spend money — I hate to say the word — frivolously or needlessly.”