Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.) on Wednesday said Russian hackers had successfully “penetrated” some of Florida’s election systems ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
“They have already penetrated certain counties in the state and they now have free rein to move about,” Nelson told the Tampa Bay Times.
According to the Times, Nelson said leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee encouraged him and fellow Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) to notify Florida state election supervisors that “the Russians are in their records.”
Nelson warned that the state has to act quickly, emphasizing that Russia is trying to undermine faith in the U.S. democratic system.
The senator did not say which counties were targeted and why the Senate Intelligence Committee believes it is the work of Russian hackers.
Last month, Nelson and Rubio sent a joint letter urging state election officials to “take advantage” of the election security resources offered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“County election boards should not be expected to stand alone against a hostile foreign government,” reads the joint letter sent to 67 election supervisors.
“DHS will follow your lead and meet your needs with a tailored set of options. We encourage you in the strongest terms to take advantage of those resources, and to let us know about your experience with DHS and FBI.”