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Florida National Guard to be deployed across Florida on Election Day

Guard members are also involved in election cybersecurity
The National Guard assembled in the parking lot of Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, May 31, 2020 in Tampa.
The National Guard assembled in the parking lot of Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, May 31, 2020 in Tampa. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Nov. 2, 2020
Updated Nov. 3, 2020

The Florida National Guard is activating soldiers in several locations across the state on Election Day, according to a Guard spokesperson.

Additional details, such as the number of soldiers and locations, were unavailable Monday evening due to operational security, said spokeswoman Lt. Col. Caitlin Brown. But she added the move came from the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Guard units across the country have mobilized to assist with traffic control at polling sites and prepared to respond to any civil unrest following Election Day.

Five Florida National Guard members are also assisting the Florida Department of State with a cybersecurity mission to support election officials with network security, Brown said.

In the 2018 mid-term elections, 27 states, including Florida, activated National Guard cybersecurity cells to keep network infrastructure unobstructed, as reported last year by the trade publication Stars and Stripes and confirmed by Brown. This year, cybersecurity missions also were activated across the country.

In Texas, the National Guard plans to activate up to 1,000 troops in preparation for possible post-election civil disturbances, as reported by the San Antonio Express-News.

This summer, the Florida National Guard was activated to assist local law enforcement agencies, including in Tampa, after peaceful protests tied to the death of George Floyd turned violent.

This year, Florida Guard members have also been active in COVID-19-related missions, including offering support at testing sites.