Thank goodness Palm Beach County elections officials haven’t waited for the state of Florida for help in hardening our voting system from cyberattacks. First, the Legislature failed to approve money for a cyber-security unit in the state elections office, so Gov. Rick Scott is resorting to a federal grant to contract for five consultants to assist elections officials. Then the Scott administration let months go by without bothering to seek $19.2 million in federal money for cyber security that’s been available since President Trump signed the most recent spending bill, in March.
In late May, Secretary of State Ken Detzner said the money couldn’t be in hand in time for the November elections, claiming he needed legislative approval, a formality. That infuriated many county elections supervisors rightly worried about hacking from Russia or other bad actors.
Scott, facing political embarrassment after Detzner’s remarks went public, overruled the elections chief and told him to get the money. Miraculously, county supervisors received it in within two days.