Russian hackers have "free rein" after allegedly penetrating some Florida voting systems, according to Senator Bill Nelson.
"They have already penetrated certain counties in the state, and they now have free rein to move about," Nelson said to the Tampa Bay Times ahead of a campaign event Tuesday.
However, there is "zero information" to support his claims, says the Florida Department of State.
"Additionally, the Department has received no information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that corroborates Senator Nelson’s statement and we have no evidence to support these claims," said Sarah Revell, Director of Communications. "If Senator Nelson has specific information about threats to our elections, he should share it with election officials in Florida.”
Revell says both state and local election officials have already taken steps to secure the integrity of the upcoming election. Those steps include utilizing a $1.9 million in funding for a "network monitoring security solution" that produces alerts about system threats. Over $15 million have also gone toward investments in election security prior to the 2018 elections.
"The Department and local Supervisors of Elections remain focused on the continued security and integrity of Florida’s elections in 2018 and beyond," she said.
In a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, Secretary of State Ken Detzner reaffirmed his department's conclusion that "to the best of our knowledge and the knowledge of our federal partners, Florida's voting systems and elections databases remain secure and there has been no intrusion of the Florida Voter Registration System and no reported breaches from locally elected Supervisors of Elections."
Nelson is facing a re-election challenge from Gov. Rick Scott in November. Scott's administration said it has no knowledge of the claims made by Nelson.