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We Talk with Two Election Security Experts About Russian Hacking of Voter Databases in Florida

Columbia City Blog via Flickr

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently announced that Russian hackers breached the election systems in two Florida counties leading up to the 2016 election. He says no votes were changed, and that the systems accessed were completely separate from voting and tabulation machines. But, he also said he had to sign a nondisclosure agreement with the FBI to not reveal which counties had been hacked.


The governor went on to say that the hackers used what’s called a spear-phishing campaign, where they used email addresses designed to look like a voting system vendor, to trick workers in election offices into giving them access to their networks.

Earlier today, the governor’s office sent out a press release saying he is directing Secretary of State Laurell Lee to immediately initiate a review of the security and cybersecurity of Florida’s elections systems. And that the Department of State is “committed to providing resources to help ensure the safety and security of Florida’s elections and the protection of voter information.”

We’re going to try to get a handle on what this all means, and what can be done as we head toward the 2020 election to ensure the integrity of the voting process here in Florida, starting with a pre-taped interview with Ion Sancho. He spent 28 years as the Leon County Supervisor of Elections, and is a long time, vocal advocate for election transparency. He was featured in the 2006 HBO documentary Hacking Democracy, which explored problems with electronic voting machines in the 2000 and 2004 elections. We'll also talk with Susannah Goodman, she is Director of Election Security at Common Cause.

Copyright 2019 WGCU

Julie Glenn is the host of Gulf Coast Live. She has been working in southwest Florida as a freelance writer since 2007, most recently as a regular columnist for the Naples Daily News. She began her broadcasting career in 1993 as a reporter/anchor/producer for a local CBS affiliate in Quincy, Illinois. After also working for the NBC affiliate, she decided to move to Parma, Italy where she earned her Master’s degree in communication from the University of Gastronomic Sciences. Her undergraduate degree in Mass Communication is from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University.