In this Jan. 22, 2019, photo, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., left, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., speak to the media after their meeting with President Donald Trump about Venezuela, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Friday that hackers infiltrated a Florida county’s elections system in 2016 and were “in a position” to alter voter roll data, though they don’t appear to have done so.
The senator’s comments come in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report that revealed that the Russian military intelligence unit known as the GRU sent malicious viruses to the Florida county government officials who were overseeing the 2016 election.
Rubio told the New York Times that, even though there was a hacking attack against a county’s elections system, he believes the target or targets weren’t warned about it and instead a broad basic warning was issued about possible hacking efforts.
“Everybody has been told what it is they need to do to protect themselves from the intrusion,” Rubio said. “I don’t believe the specific victims of the intrusion have been notified. The concern was that in a number of counties across the country, there are a couple of people with the attitude of: ‘We’ve got this; we don’t need your help. We don’t think we need to do what you are telling us we need to do.’”
He added that the Russian hackers were “in a position” to alter voter roll data, though he notes that they don’t appear to have taken such action.
“My biggest concern is that on Election Day you go vote and have mass confusion because voter registration information has been deleted from the systems,” the senator added.
It still remains unclear in which exact county the hackers were able to access, a frustration voiced by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who criticized federal authorities for lack of transparency, according to the Hill.
“They won’t tell us which county it was, are you kidding me?” he said at a Thursday press conference. “Why would you have not said something immediately?”