TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Russian hackers gained access to voter databases in two Florida counties ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference Tuesday.
DeSantis said the hackers didn’t manipulate any data and the election results weren’t compromised. He and officials from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement were briefed by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security on Friday.
The governor said he signed an agreement with the FBI not to disclose the names of the counties, but elections officials in those counties are aware of the intrusions.
One person who wasn’t aware was DeSantis’ predecessor, now-Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, DeSantis said.
“We’re trying to figure out what the state knew at the time,” DeSantis said. “Obviously, the previous administration and the head of FDLE did not have that information.”
He said the hackers gained access through a spearfishing email after a worker clicked a link.
Scott criticized his opponent in last year’s election, then-Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, for saying Russians had hacked elections systems. Scott called the allegations sensational.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election also said hackers gained access to the network of at least one Florida county. Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has previously said at least one Florida county had an intrusion.