Ever since the infamous election of 2000, Florida has been ground zero in the struggle to improve the technology and security of voting. Unfortunately, those critical issues have been conflated with deliberate political efforts to suppress voting and undermine confidence in voting systems, and 2018 is no exception. The reforms instituted since the 2000 debacle, such as early voting, served to make voting more convenient and restored confidence that all votes would be counted accurately. Even Republican Governor Rick Scott, no fan of convenience or expanding the franchise, finally went along with online voter registration last year. Thanks to the work of county election officials and civic reform groups, as well as good-faith efforts by Scott’s Republican predecessor, Charlie Crist, Florida had already made significant strides on election administration and had extended voting rights to certain disenfranchised former felons as well.
Paper ballots that were once on their way to extinction have become the bulwark of election security as concerns about cyber attacks dominate the waking hours of the 67 county supervisors who run elections in the state. “It’s night and day to what it was,” says Susan MacManus, a Florida political analyst and University of South Florida professor emerita of government and international affairs. “But the ghost of 2000 is always on the minds of every supervisor.”
According to Dan McCrea, a Florida consultant for Verified Voting, a nonpartisan watchdog group, after 2000, many counties adopted paperless touchscreens that they used until 2008 when paper ballots were required for all voters. All jurisdictions use paper ballots that voters can mark with pens and then feed through the scanners. (Paperless touchscreens are still in use for voters with disabilities in some places like Miami-Dade County and will be eventually phased out.)
Full Article: Florida Wrestles with Election Cybersecurity.