By KEVIN DERBY
Stephanie Murphy and Mike Waltz
Last week, two members of the Florida delegation called for more follow up from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Russian attempts to interfere in elections in the Sunshine State.
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., once again paired up with U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and called for the DOJ, FBI and DHS to brief the Florida delegation on Capitol Hill about election security. They pointed to a report from the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) which, they insisted, “cast doubt on information recently provided by these federal agencies to members of Congress and the public regarding Russian attempts to breach into Florida election systems.”
After asking for a briefing on election security for the Florida delegation back in May, Murphy and Waltz asked U.S. Attorney General William Barr, acting U.S. DHS Sec. Kevin McAleenan and FBI Director Christopher Wray for a new briefing for the Florida delegation.
“For Florida, the Senate report on election interference introduced far more questions than it answered. The public was left wondering whether our state was a larger target of Russian meddling than previously shared, and we were given no assurances that federal and state governments are doing all they can to prevent another, potentially far more devastating attack,” said Murphy on Thursday. “This unwillingness by our federal agencies and county election officials to be forthcoming with this information will only undermine public confidence in the integrity of our election systems. We will not stop demanding clear answers into the extent of the these intrusions into Florida voter data, and calling for the public release of the names of the counties affected so voters can feel certain that their voting data is secure.”
“Our elections are one of the most critical pieces of our country’s democracy. Floridians understand the need to protect sources and methods but we need to balance that protection with confidence in our voting system,” said Waltz. “From members of Congress to those voters exercising their constitutional rights at the ballot box, it’s important to our national security that we are aware of any threats posed to our elections system.”
Murphy and Waltz have worked on the matter including teaming up on the “Achieving Lasting Electoral Reforms on Transparency and Security (ALERTS) Act” which would keep Congress and state and local officials in the loop when election systems are hacked and voter information put at risk. Their bill–which has the support of more than half of the Florida delegation in the U.S. House–is before the U.S. House Administration Committee.