May 14, 2019 - World

Florida governor confirms Russian hackers accessed voter data in 2016

In this image, a row of voting booths are seen in a room with darkened windows.

Voting booths at the University of South Florida in 2018. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said on Tuesday that Russian hackers accessed voter databases in two Florida counties before the 2016 presidential election, AP reports. DeSantis said no Florida election results were compromised as a result of the hacking and no data was manipulated.

Our thought bubble, via Axios cybersecurity reporter Joe Uchill: It's important to remember, in cases of hacked voter databases, that the effect may not be manipulating elections. Voters removed from databases would still be eligible to vote via provisional ballots, and adding thousands of fictional voters to the rolls would mean creating an unwieldy operation that would require filling out thousands of fake ballots.

Flashback: Rubio told NYT last month that Russian hackers "were 'in a position' to change voter roll data" in Florida, in addition to being able to access the state's voting system, but that he doesn't believe they acted on that access.

  • The Mueller report, which included only a single sentence on Russian hacking in Florida and left further investigations to Homeland Security and the FBI, did not find evidence that these breaches compromised election results in the state.
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