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A Statement on Voting Security from Mike Hogan, Duval County Supervisor of Elections

JACKSONVILLE – As Duval County’s Supervisor of Elections, my top priority is the safety and security of the protection of voter information. State and local election officials have taken significant steps and invested millions of dollars to ensure the security and integrity of Florida's elections. This includes updating monitoring systems, spending grant monies to bolster security, and hiring additional cybersecurity experts at the state level.

For the last 29 months, we (the Florida Supervisors of Elections) have focused on physical security and cybersecurity issues. I have met multiple times with personnel from Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Florida National Guard. I know my colleagues have as well. We are sure there are groups who will try to get into our systems. Although we are seriously concerned, we are confident we have done all we know to do to thwart a security attack.

Last week, United States Senator, Bill Nelson, (D., FL), said the Russians “are in Florida’s elections records,” and they have "already penetrated certain counties in the state, and they now have free rein to move about.” Senator Nelson shared the statement without citing any evidence.

When questioned by members of the media on the validity of his claim, Senator Nelson refused to elaborate other than to say the information was "classified."

Early Voting in Duval County began on Monday, August 13, and thousands of Vote-by-Mail ballots have been returned. Both forms of voting have progressed smoothly without security breaches. I am more than disappointed by the vague and unsubstantiated information Senator Nelson presented.

The Secretary of State, Mr. Ken Detzner, is the Chief Elections Officer in Florida. After Senator Nelson made his comments, Secretary Detzner immediately contacted all County Supervisors and the media with a statement.  It said, “… the state has received zero information from Senator Nelson or his staff that support his claims. Additionally, my Department has received no information from the DHS, the FBI or the FDLE that corroborates Senator Nelson’s statement and we have no evidence to support these claims. If Senator Nelson has specific information about threats to our elections, he should share it with election officials in Florida.”

Secretary Detzner then wrote United States Senator, Richard Burr (R., NC), Chairman, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In his letter, Secretary Detzner informed Senator Burr he (Detzner) contacted the heads of the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and requested an immediate briefing on any information pertaining to Senator Nelson’s comments. All three agencies told Secretary Detzner they have no information to corroborate Senator Nelson’s comments.

In addition, Secretary Detzner received a swift reply from Senator Burr that “did not confirm Senator Nelson’s statements.” Senator Burr also advised Secretary Detzner to continue engaging with DHS and the FBI, as any briefings or notifications about ongoing threats would rightfully come from those agencies.

 Additionally, no Supervisor of Elections in Florida has seen or reported any evidence of penetration of our voter data. Furthermore, it is important to know our tabulating (ballot counting) equipment is not linked to any Internet during actual voting.

Finally, Floridians vote via paper ballots, which if the electronic count is questioned, can be recounted. All paper ballots must be archived for 22 months.

 -Mike Hogan, Duval County Supervisor of Elections

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