Former Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum was in Tampa on Thursday, pushing his effort to register one million new Democratic voters by the 2020 election.
Gillum handed a large check for $100,000 to Florida Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo and pledged another $400,000 to groups around the state that help people of color register to vote.
“Democrats are fired up and ready to flip this state blue in 2020,” Gillum exclaimed from the podium, flanked by Rizzo, state senator Daryl Rouson (D-Tampa/St. Pete), state representative Fentrice Driskell (D-Hillsborough) and a crowd of supporters.
“We’ve got to be more serious, more intentional than ever,” Gillum said. “And we’ve got to start earlier than six weeks out from Election Day.”
Gillum says the push for 2020 isn’t just about gaining seats. The power to control the redistricting process will be based on the legislature’s makeup, and that makes the election even more important.
“Although we won fair districts, which was a help, you still have the majority party designing the districts of their choice,” Gillum said.
The former mayor of Tallahassee also addressed the recent revelations that two counties’ voter registration systems were hacked in 2016 and whether he believes Florida’s election systems are secure.
“We’re talking about 2016,” Gillum said. “What happened in 2018? What plans are being made in 2020 to protect the integrity of Florida’s election system?”
Earlier Thursday, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida) released the following statement after meeting with the FBI on Wednesday:
“While the FBI told me the voter files for two Florida counties were successfully accessed prior to the 2016 election, the FBI confirmed that there is no evidence to suggest that any voting records or systems were manipulated. And the FBI told me there is certainly no evidence to support the claim that the Russians still had access to Florida’s election systems at the time of the 2018 election. I want to be clear: the FBI verified that there was no evidence of a breach of Florida’s election records at the time voting occurred in 2018. The FBI could not provide any evidence to support the claims about security during the 2018 election made by then-Senator Nelson, which confirms the conclusion of both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security at the time. Due to the classified nature of this information and the ongoing investigation, I am not able to reveal what counties were accessed. I urged the FBI to publicly release this information as soon as they are able. The FBI said the information is classified due to the risk it poses to national security.
”I appreciate the FBI taking the time to brief me yesterday. They have a great relationship with the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, of which I’m a member, and I asked that they continue to keep us regularly updated on election security issues. I also asked that they offer this briefing to all Senators who want an update on security threats. Maintaining the security of our elections is paramount to a democratic society. As Governor, I invested millions of dollars in cyber security, hired additional cyber security staff, and secured election security grants for all 67 counties in Florida. I appreciate how complimentary the FBI was to our state’s election security and how well state and local authorities cooperate with the FBI. I’m confident in the steps we’ve taken to protect the sanctity of the ballot box, but we must all remain vigilant to ensure our elections remain secure.”
According to the FBI:
• Florida is one of the most engaged states on election security.
• Florida has deployed more ALBERT sensors to protect their election infrastructure than any other state.
• The FBI and DHS proactively share information with Supervisor of Election officials, and since 2016, have disseminated information nationwide regarding potential compromises to assist in protecting their systems.
• Florida election officials have conducted numerous trainings to remain as informed of the threats to elections as possible, and have included partners from other states, the Federal government, and intelligence community.