National election leaders meet in Orlando for 2020 election preparations

Conference discussed security changes, securing election process

Elections leaders from across the country are meeting in Orlando to discuss preparations and security plans ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Election leaders from across the country are meeting in Orlando to discuss new technology, plans and preparations heading into the 2020 election.

The Election Center National Conference kicked off on Monday at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings was one of the keynote speakers and spoke about the importance of ensuring the election process remains trusted and secure.

"It is these officials that really make certain that elections are fair and equitable to all involved," Demings said.

During the conference, officials discussed preparing for the 2020 census and the security changes that are being put in place leading up to Election Day.

"We just are more concerned about making sure our systems are ready for 2020 and that there's been nothing done to our systems," Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said.

Since the 2016 election, Cowles said new servers have been installed in Florida counties that will monitor traffic and suspicious IP addresses.

"We've done so much change to our system that if something got in in '16, it's highly unlikely it's still there, because of the changes that have been made," Cowles said.

When it comes to the votes themselves, a paper trail will remain in place for every election in Florida.

"We vote on paper ballot," Cowles said.  "So, if anything happens with the result, we have paper ballots. We've proved that in 2018 with three statewide recounts."

Officials said many protocols can't be revealed for security reasons, but measures are in place to ensure outside influences stay on the outside come Election Day.

"If we work collaboratively to make certain that we have appropriate security protocols in place, then we should preclude that from ever happening," Demings said.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.