During a hearing Thursday morning, Michael Ertel, the state's new elections chief, told a House subcommittee there was no evidence that Florida's voting systems were tampered with during the November 2018 midterms.
"In Florida we spend millions of dollars on cybersecurity and ensuring that our system was not penetrated by any external forces. And to our knowledge there have not been any penetrations of the system. Which is amazing," Ertel told the Florida House Oversight, Transparency and Public Management Subcommittee, per the website Florida Politics
In light election interference issues in 2016, Ertel also noted how high the stakes are in Florida as we look toward Election Day 2020.
"And so if anyone is going to target a state for a presidential election, we fully recognize we need to defend against that. And while it didn't happen in 2018, just because your quarterback hasn't been sacked doesn't mean you bench your left tackle," Ertel said. "What you do is make sure you continue to protect that quarterback, continue to protect that system. And that's what we're going to do in 2019 and 2020 and beyond."
Prior to his appointment to the Florida Secretary of State position by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in late December, Ertel served as the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections since 2005.
"I think the worst-case scenario is what is currently happening, which is voters lacking trust in the [elections] process," Ertel told Orlando Weekly
in September, when asked about voters' potential doubts heading into the Nov. 6 midterms. "So regardless of whether there is any interference, which there hasn't been, there are partisans all over the political spectrum who are proffering interference in the election. What that does is it causes voters to have a lack of faith in the process."
Ertel added at the time: "If voters have a lack of faith in the process, they might not vote in the end."
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