EVOLVE initiative strengthens election security, Seminole elections head says

Supervisor of elections concerned about cyber threats, misinformation

A supervisor of elections is adding more security measures through partnerships at the local, state and federal levels in Seminole County.

SANFORD, Fla. – A supervisor of elections is adding more security measures through partnerships at the local, state and federal levels in Seminole County.

Seminole County’s supervisor of elections, Chris Anderson, said the last election in 2020 was safe and secure, but hopes to be proactive and prepare for the next one.

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“We are taking the initiative to proactively respond to the threats that face 21st-century elections,” Anderson said.

Anderson, on Wednesday, announced the EVOLVE initiative in front of his Sanford office.

EVOLVE stands for enhancing voting operations, lifting voter experiences.

The goal is to fight misinformation, improve safety practices and prepare ahead for cyber threats.

“A ransomware attack takes place every 39 seconds,” said Anderson. “They are increasing 600% since 2020. We have to be prepared to address threats.”

Anderson didn’t say exactly how these partnerships will solve each problem due to the initiative still being in its infancy stages.

This all comes after the state legislature approved the formation of a standalone election police force to help crack down on voter fraud following audits were conducted after the 2020 election.

Anderson says his EVOLVE initiative has been forming since before 2020.

Partnerships include, but are not limited to the 18th Judicial Circuit state attorney’s office, the Florida State Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, and a Florida National Guard Cyberteam out of Saint Augustine.

He said each department will be going through an education phase.

“They actually have to learn our process before they can actually give us the critiques we desire,” Anderson said. “As the partnership increases, they’ll take more of a role in securing our processes.”

Anderson said the initiative will constantly be evolving as time goes on. He said more phases will develop after each department has had time to observe the county’s election process.


About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.