By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor
On May 14, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that Russian hackers gained access to voter databases in two counties in the state before the 2016 presidential election. DeSantis added that the hackers didn’t manipulate any data and the results of the election were not changed. He provided no proof that was the case.
“I recently met with the FBI concerning the election issue mentioned in the Mueller report. Two Florida counties experienced intrusion into the supervisor of election networks. There was no manipulation,” DeSantis said.
The breach of Florida’s election system was first revealed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report two weeks ago. The issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election last month had been denied by many on the right but now for the first time has been publicly confirmed.
DeSantis signed an agreement with the FBI not to disclose the names of the counties in Florida that were hacked by the Russians. But, election officials in the breached counties are also aware of there was an intrusion. Though other Florida officials had not been made aware of the situation.
“I haven’t heard even a whisper,” about such a breach, said Paul Lux, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections in an interview with National Public Radio in April.
“We’re trying to figure out what the state knew at the time. Obviously, the previous administration and the head of FDLE did not have that information,” DeSantis told reporters.
An ongoing investigation into Russian interference and the connections between Russian citizens and members of the Trump Administration have been the constant source of various theories around how Donald Trump won the White House over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016. Clinton received over 3 million votes more than Trump but was defeated because her tally of electoral votes was less.
As President, Trump has taken no direct action to safeguard U.S. voting systems after Russian interference was disclosed.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and writer for NNPA as well as a political analyst and strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at [email protected] and on twitter at @LVBurke