Two members of Congress representing Central Florida got answers about Russian hacking of Florida elections supervisors in the 2016 elections and now they are demanding the public be given those same answers.
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., got a briefing from the intelligence community after the announcement was made about what happened–and she thinks the public deserves the exact same courtesy.
“The standard that has been set in credit card companies, social media companies is when consumers’ data is breached, they are notified in a timely manner. I think when it comes to voter registration information, that standard should also apply,” Murphy told Florida Daily.
Murphy has filed a bill that will require that disclosure, and she has a cosponsor in U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla. Both Murphy and Waltz worked in national security before being elected.
Waltz said he was upset after his briefing from the intelligence community on the election hacking.
“The FBI’s notification protocol is inadequate and unacceptable,” Waltz said. “If we are going to have any success securing our elections, we need to know immediately whether or not an elections system has been compromised — and most importantly, the voters need to know too.”
The bill is called the “Achieving Lasting Electoral Reforms on Transparency and Security Act” (ALERTS Act) and it requires the FBI to alert federal state, and local governments, plus the public, with all of the details of an elections system hack. The only exception to that would be information that would endanger the methods and sources used to find the hack.
The FBI refuses to name the two counties in Florida which were hacked, citing national security reasons. Murphy isn’t buying that.
“The Russians know which counties they’ve breached. They know that we know which counties they have breached. The only people that are left in the dark are the voters of the counties that have been breached. Their information is in the hands of the Russians and they don’t know that,” Murphy said.
Washington County has since been identified in multiple news reports as one of the two counties where a phishing scheme via email allowed Russians to get into the voter database. While Murphy knows the second county, she is not allowed to say which one it is. This is another area where she is demanding change.
“When we can’t have a public conversation about where there are weaknesses, we also cannot have a public conversation of how to bolster our defenses and make sure that we ensure that this does not happen again,” Murphy said.
While the Russians did get into the elections systems of two of Florida’s counties, they were not able to access any information that was not already available to the public under Florida’s Sunshine Laws. They were not able to affect the outcome of Florida’s elections in any way.
Reach Mike Synan at Mike.Synan@floridadaily.com.