Wednesday, February 13, 2019

FL Palm Beach Didn’t Apply for Election Security Cash

Florida's Palm Beach County Officials Failed to tap Election Security Funds available for the 2018 Midterms, making it the only Jurisdiction in the State that didn’t seek a Share of the Federal Aid.

Nearly $2 Million in Federal Funds was made available to the State for Hardware and Software Support, including Server Installations and Network Monitoring, ahead of the 2018 Midterm Elections.

In a Presentation to the House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday, State Elections Director Maria Matthews said 66 of 67 Florida Counties Applied for the Funds, News that Angered Lawmakers.

“Once again, the Palm Beach supervisors office has proven that they have been woefully mismanaged,” said State Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R-35th District, Spring Hill) who led the Republican Party of Florida during the 2018 Election Cycle. “It’s clear to me that making deadlines was not their forte.”

Palm Beach, a Democratic Stronghold, made National Headlines after the Election for its handling of a Recount involving Florida’s Gubernatorial and U.S. Senate Races.

County Election Officials faced Criticism from Republicans for, among other things, having Old Voting Machines that Overheated, which Prevented the timely Counting of Ballots.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in January Suspended Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, who eventually Resigned, replacing her with Attorney Wendy Link.

Link said on Wednesday that her Office has begun the Process of applying for the Federal Funding, which is available until June 2019.

The Palm Beach Update was part of a Broader Presentation about the dwindling Supply of Money available to the State through the Federally Funded Help America Vote Act.

Florida Lawmakers are Working on a Plan to Fill the Funding Gap with State Cash.

The Program was set up by Congress in 2002 to Fund Voting Machine Replacement, Expand Voter Access, and Create Provisional Ballot Programs, but in the wake of Increased Cyber Threats, much of the Aid has been Dedicated to Election Security. A March 2018 Congressional Spending Bill included $380 Million to Beef Up Election Security, $19 Million of that Money came to Florida.

It’s the last slice of Funds the State will Receive from the Help America Vote Act.

The Department of State, which oversees Florida Elections, wants to Transfer $41.1 Million and 43 Positions that helped Oversee that Money from a Trust Fund that Houses Federal Monies to the Department’s General Revenue Fund.

The Department also has asked Lawmakers to Grant $2.8 Million to Local election Officials to make Sample Ballots, Increase Cybersecurity, and Train Poll Workers ahead of the 2020 Election Cycle.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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