Florida Reps. Stephanie Murphy, Michael Waltz will file bill to require official public notice of election hacking


U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy and Michael Waltz announced Thursday they will file a bill that would require federal officials to give notice to Congress and state and local officials when our elections have been tampered with.

The Achieving Lasting Electoral Reforms on Transparency and Security Act – or the ALERTS Act – is the Florida congressional delegation's clap-back response to their ongoing feud with the FBI after the agency provided a classified briefing on the matter last week. Following the meeting, the congressional members, who demanded that the FBI release the names of the counties to the public, were made to sign a non-disclosure agreement barring them from revealing the counties that were hacked in 2016.

Gov. Ron DeSantis was also forced to sign an NDA after a separate meeting with the FBI last week. The FBI cited protocol as their reasoning.

The legislation, if approved, would require federal officials "to promptly alert the appropriate state and local officials and members of Congress if they have credible evidence of unauthorized intrusion into an election system" and reason to believe it could damage voter information.

The Washington Post previously reported Washington County in the Florida Panhandle as one of the hacked counties in 2016.

"It is unacceptable that the Russians know which systems were hacked and not the Americans affected," says Murphy, D-Winter Park, in a statement. "When federal officials determine unauthorized users gain access to an elections system, local officials and the public have a right to know so they can respond."

Waltz, R-Boynton Beach, notes that it's been a week since the FBI briefing, yet the names of the hacked counties still haven't been released publicly.

"The FBI's notification protocol is inadequate and unacceptable," Waltz says. "If we are going to have any success securing our elections, we need to know immediately whether or not an elections system has been compromised – and more importantly, the voters need to know too."

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.