Russian operatives have “penetrated” some of Florida’s voter registration systems ahead of the 2018 midterms, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Wednesday, adding new urgency to concerns about hacking. bThe state, however, said it has received “zero information” supporting his claim. “They have already penetrated certain counties in the state and they now have free rein to move about,” Nelson told the Tampa Bay Times before a campaign event in Tampa. He said something similar a day earlier in Tallahassee but declined to elaborate. “That’s classified,” the Democrat said Tuesday. He is facing a re-election challenge in November from Gov. Rick Scott, whose administration said it has no knowledge of the allegations made by Nelson.
Nelson and Florida’s other senator, Republican Marco Rubio, wrote a July 2 letter to the 67 county election supervisors about potential threats. But that letter lacked the specificity Nelson laid out.
“County election boards should not be expected to stand alone against a hostile foreign government,” the lawmakers wrote in recommending “a wide range of services” from the Department of Homeland Security.
“We were requested by the chairman and vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee to let the supervisors of election in Florida know that the Russians are in their records,” Nelson told the Timeson Wednesday. He noted he is a member of the Armed Services subcommittee on cybersecurity.