Two years ago, “spearphishing attacks” -emails targeted towards specific individuals with the intent to steal data for malicious purposes- flooded the inboxes of election officials in several Florida counties. This year, as Florida prepares for the general elections in November, issues around voting security have been front and center. In August, Sen. Bill Nelson claimed Russian hackers had gained access to valuable data on state voters. There has been no evidence found that Florida’s voting system was compromised in 2016, but the attempts to breach systems have led to the state receiving $19 million in federal money for election security.
In South Florida, Broward County has received $1.1 million, Miami-Dade County $1.6 million and Palm Beach County $909,000 to increase election security.
But challenges remain. For example, for many Florida voters, mail-in ballots are the way to go but a report from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) found one out of every 100 mail-in ballots were rejected in Florida in 2012 and 2016.