The following press release was provided by the Florida Republican Assembly
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RE: FLORIDA REPUBLICAN ASSEMBLY (FRA) CALLS FOR FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE CORD BYRD AND MARIA MATTHEWS RESIGNATION
TALLAHASSEE – FRA has uncovered that the Florida Secretary of State, Division of Elections, has NOT been in compliance with both federal and state laws. They have violated Florida Statute 101.015 section 7 for NOT keeping our voting system certification standards up to date. The statute clearly states that the Division of Elections SHALL review, update, and ensure that new technologies are appropriately certified for ALL elections in a timely manner. Grotesquely, they are using outdated 19-year-old standards and protocols dated 2005 to certify elections; which leaves our elections unprotected and vulnerable to cyber weapon attacks.
Since 2005, technology has greatly changed, and there have been systemic and pervasive threats and occurrences of cyber-attacks and system breaches in government and private industry. The Florida Secretary of State has NOT addressed these dangers, and NOT acknowledged the major cyber security threats to our election systems. The department continues to rely upon 19-year-old obsolete security standards. Further research indicates the Florida Secretary of State has NOT been compliant to federal law “The Help America Vote Act” a/k/a “HAVA” that creates new mandatory minimum standards for states to follow in several key areas of election administration. The law provides funding to help states meet these new standards, replace voting systems, and improve election administration. To date Florida has received approximately $40 million dollars in HAVA funding and states who fail to use the funding properly are subject to reimburse the federal government. Moreover, the Florida Auditor General advised in their report to the Secretary of State of numerous deficiencies, all of which were ignored dating back to 2006.
FRA has investigated cyber security threats to election systems and consulted with Clay Parikh, one of the foremost experts in the United States regarding election systems cyber security and who was involved in testing seven (7) different election system vendors over the nine (9) years he worked at federally recognized testing facilities. Three major vulnerabilities of relying upon the 2005 standards are 1) the pervasive use of wireless technology is now ubiquitous and the 2005 standards do not address it; 2) the supply chain of components of election technology is almost wholly outside the purview of either state or federal officials; 3) there is a lack of Secretary of State oversight of the private party distribution of election systems from vendors to voters, which is not addressed by the 2005 standards at all. Rebuttal Video to Florida Secretary of State testimony.
The testimony on December 7, 2023, of Secretary of State Cord Byrd and Division of Elections Director Maria Matthews as “certification experts” when they have no certifications or credentials in election cyber security is a misrepresentation. Video: Florida Secretary of State admits Florida Division of Elections have NO cyber security experts. In addition, they openly admitted to the Florida House of Representatives Ethics Committee that they have no certification experts in the office, which violates Florida Statute 282.318 Cybersecurity.
Secretary Byrd and Division of Elections Director Maria Matthews have violated their oath of office and constitutional duties by delegating their responsibility to vendors and corporations while requiring NO cyber security oversight. They have failed to keep up with current technology in maintaining our security standards, protocols, and protecting Floridians’ most sacred right; which is our First Amendment. This incompetent behavior, blatant disregard for the law, and dereliction to duty warrants nothing less than the immediate resignations and replacement of Cord Byrd and Maria Matthews.
Lastly, FRA calls on Governor DeSantis to investigate these gross violations. We also call on Governor DeSantis to suspend and warehouse all election equipment indefinitely pending investigation and alternatively implement watermarked serialized ballots, subject to hand count procedures immediately. To continue to conduct and certify elections with 19-year-old standards is illegal and subject to lawsuits.