Tuesday’s primary is a dry run for democracy in a tense time of cyber-threats. It will be the most thorough test of voting operations since Russian operatives tried to hack Florida voting rolls before the 2016 presidential election. But it’s not one election, it’s 67 — one in every county from the Keys to Pensacola. As counties plan for what’s often a low-turnout election, they have spent millions of dollars safeguarding computer servers, installing surveillance cameras and card readers, building security barriers and training workers to detect threats they can’t see. “We want to make sure that our employees know what a phishing email looks like,” says Lisa Lewis, supervisor of elections in Volusia County, a county the Russians targeted two years ago. “If there’s no subject line, I tell people, ‘Don’t open it.’ “
Election workers have taken cyber-security training classes, the Department of Homeland Security has inspected counties’ operations and a U.S. senator has issued ominous and unproven warnings that Russians are meddling in voting records.
… “They’re awfully heavy-handed with redactions,” says Dan McCrea of Verified Voting, a nonpartisan watchdog group. “I think these officials could do a better job of providing a level of transparency that allows the public to know exactly what’s being addressed.”
The state and counties say it makes no sense for every detail of their security plans to be known. But if something goes awry, the public will have little knowledge of whether the money was spent properly.