The Senate Supplemental Funding initiatives include nearly $2 million for an upgrade to Florida’s election hardware.
The so-called “sprinkles” budget includes a number of specific line items, including some matters negotiated out of prior versions of the budget. Last week, a negotiation between the House and Senate on State Department allocations dropped all funding for election legacy hardware replacement. Up until that negotiation, the House wanted $500,000, but the Senate had zeroed the item out.
Now, it’s the Senate that included $1,986,000 for the line item. That’s a number close to the $2 million requested in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposed budget ahead of Session.
The funds are being provided to utilize election security grant funding provided to the state from the 2020 Help America Vote Act.
The Department of State can request budget amendments up to $4,986,000 for release of funds, with each amendment specifying detailed information including a work plan and expenditure plan with deliverable outcomes.
In this case, the funding would help improve security and election technology in the state.
“Upgrading the applications and hardware will address security concerns and replace the unsupported hardware that range in age from three to 10 years old,” reads an explanation from the State Department included in the administration’s proposed budget.
Notably, the subject of election security came up multiple times this year as Secretary of State Laurel Lee provided a summary of the 2020 election cycle in Florida. She noted that one of the lowest moments of the cycle for the state came when a voter registration site crashed the last day citizens could sign up to vote in the General Election.
Lee said a malicious attack on Florida’s voter registration website might have been behind the crash. She noted the site saw an inordinate boost to 1.1 million hits on the site in an hour.
Elections officials have warned increasingly sophisticated hackers around the globe, many working for interests hostile to U.S. democracy, will pose an evolving threat to election security.