DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Election security was the big topic at the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections Conference in Daytona Beach this week.
- State Assoc. of Supervisors of Elections holds annual conference
- All conference session included cybersecurity topics
- For 2020, 26 counties will now be using system called ‘Albert’
Supervisors of elections from across the state gathered to learn and exchange ideas about how to make future elections as secure as possible.
“Every session was interfaced with cybersecurity, because it is so important to us,” said Mary Jane Arrington, the Osceola County Supervisor of Elections.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced recently that election systems in two counties were hacked by Russians back in 2016. Now new measures are in place to make sure that does not happen in 2020.
“We have spent a lot of time and training on all staff members, not just our IT staff but all staff members, because that’s how an intruder gets in, is that we let them in. So we’ve worked on that and we’ve also improved our cybersecurity equipment,” said Arrington.
For 2020, 26 counties will now be using a security monitoring system called ‘Albert.’ Albert was first used in 2016 for the gubernatorial election.
“It is a special type of server that helps us detect if someone intrudes our system,” said Arrington. “We need to know if someone is in there so we can then take action.”
The state legislature also voted unanimously to allow Florida to join the Electronic Registration Information Center, also known as “ERIC”, which helps states share information to keep their voter lists accurate and prevent people from voting more than once in different states.
“What ERIC does is it helps states keep their voter lists more accurate and more up to date … getting more people on the list by identifying people who might have moved between states, or might have died in between elections so that the states can clean up those lists, while also inviting new registers to get onto the list as accurately as possible,” said David Becker, Executive Director of the Center for Election innovation and Research.
However it is unclear if Florida will join the 27 other states that are already members of ERIC before the 2020 presidential election.
On top of these measures, some supervisors said there will be more state funding down the line that they will be able to apply for, which will help as well.
“There are so many things that each supervisor would like to do to enhance our cybersecurity and enhance their physical security, and you know there is only so much money, so any extra that you can get is always a wonderful thing,” said Lisa Lewis, Volusia County Supervisor of Elections.
With all the work being done to ensure that the elections are fair and secure, supervisors hope this gives voters confidence.
“Voters should be confident because we, all 67 counties, have done a lot to try to make sure that our system is more secure,” said Arrington.