Sixteen states apply for election security money. Florida? Not yet.

'We've been working on it daily,' Gov. Rick Scott's elections chief says.
[Tampa Bay Times]
[Tampa Bay Times]
Published May 24, 2018|Updated May 24, 2018

Sixteen states have formally applied for federal money to improve their election security in advance of the 2018 vote.

Florida is not yet one of them.

The state's chief elections officer, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, says: "We've been working on it daily." The state hasn't specifically said why up until this week it hasn't sought the money.

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday ordered Detzner to seek Florida's $19 million share of a $380 million fund, part of a spending bill that President Donald J. Trump signed in March. Scott also directed Detzner to hire five cyber-security experts.

To get the money, states must submit a 2-to-3 page narrative overview of activities to be supported with the money and a line item budget within 90 days of a notice of a grant award.

The federal Election Assistance Commission, in bold, underscored text, says on its web site that "awards will be issued and funds available for drawdown prior to receipt of the plan overview to expedite and support any needed expenditures prior to the 2018 election."

States that have applied to the EAC are Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Missouri submitted its request on April 19. This map shows the date of each state's submission.

County election supervisors in Florida, who are wrapping up their annual conference in Fort Lauderdale, are eager to get some of that money to make security upgrades, especially in small and rural counties limited by a lack of growth in tax revenues.

In a statement, Detzner's spokeswoman, Sarah Revell, said: "We are in the process of putting a budget together that supports state and local elections officials, and the department is going to move quickly based on the governor's directive to submit the required paperwork to the EAC to draw down the funding as soon as possible."