Laurel Lee says disinformation remains an ‘active threat’ on Election Day
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 11/3/20-Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee talks about the progress of the general election during a news conference Tuesday morning in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

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'Do not believe everything you read or see on social media.'

Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee on Tuesday described misinformation and disinformation as an “active threat” during the 2020 General Election in Florida.

Speaking to media at the Museum of History in Tallahassee, Lee encouraged voters to remain critical of information gathered on social media regarding elections and precincts.

“Misinformation and disinformation continue to be an active threat and it is essential that voters rely on trusted and verified sources for information about elections,” Lee said. “Do not believe everything you read or see on social media.”

Lee confirmed the Department of State today has not received any “new or different” reports of misinformation or disinformation campaigns. She noted, however, the office is aware of misinformation and disinformation attacks perpetrated in recent weeks.

Lee cited an October incident in which Iran sent “threatening and intimidating” emails to voters. She alleged the emails were an effort to interfere with voter behavior.

“Should threats to physical or cyber landscapes emerge, the department is in communication with several state and local law enforcement partners,” Lee added.

Notably, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Election Day deployed the Florida National Guard to several locations across the state.

Florida National Guard spokeswoman Lt. Col. Caitlin Brown would not elaborate on their role for “operational security concerns.”

Across the country, some Governors have activated their state National Guards to potentially play law enforcement roles if there is election-related violence. And others have filled in as un-uniformed poll workers or to provide cybersecurity expertise to deter potential intrusions into election systems.

Meanwhile, more than 9.6 million ballots have been cast in Florida via early voting and vote-by-mail, accounting for roughly 62% of registered voters.

Amid the near-record turnout, Lee’s office will be tasked with ensuring “fair and accurate” elections and helping local Supervisors of Elections in all 67 counties.

She reminded Floridians that polling locations on Election Day will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters, notably, must be in line Tuesday by 7 p.m. to cast a ballot.

“Sanitation and safety are a top priority,” she reassured.

For those with COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms, vote-by-mail ballots can be requested on Election Day by completing an affidavit available in both English and Spanish.

That option is reserved for voters who affirm that an emergency- such as COVID-19 or related symptoms – prevented them from voting at their assigned polling location.

All vote-by-mail ballots must be received by the state no later than 7 p.m and can be delivered by someone else.

Lee also reminded voters that Florida law requires them to provide “a current and valid photo with signature ID” at the polls. Examples of acceptable IDs include a Florida Driver’s License, student ID, military ID, or a Florida concealed carry permit. A list of the 12 acceptable forms of ID can be found online.

Preliminary unofficial election results will be available at 8 p.m. at FloridaElectionWatch.gov.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at [email protected] or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.



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