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With election season ramping up across the country, local election officials are happy to see a new change in federal policy.

The FBI announced last week that the agency is working toward a commitment to notify state officials if election systems have been breached.

Chris Chambless is the supervisor of elections in Clay County, but he’s also part of the Government Coordinating Council for the Election Infrastructure Subsector. He says that was created to set up policy in case there’s a cyber security issue in regards to elections.

“Really it’s about notification and how to recover from an incident,” Chambless says.

He says looking back at the 2016 election and how certain government entities were kept in the dark about certain threats, it’s a good thing that the federal government is taking steps in the right direction.

“All of the sate, local, tribal territory entities will be able to, hopefully, make use of that information sooner rather than later,” Chambless says.

He says election officials across the state have been in touch with various agencies and departments to come up with a solution for keeping information private as electronic hacking has become more prevalent. All those government entities are well aware of the threat right now, Chambless says.

“We are focused on coming together as a community to strengthen and to make our systems more resilient to this type of attack,” he says.

The threat is out there, but Chambless says the new policy changes at the federal level aren’t related to any specific threat. He says it’s a good thing that the government is being proactive before another situation comes up.

“I think it’s important for everyone to realize tabulation systems are never connected to the internet,” Chambless says.

He says Florida is a paper-based state, and that protects a lot of information from cyber activity.

The federal policy change simply means more people will be aware when something happens, and the systems are in place to address a problem if needed.



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