On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
79°
Partly Cloudy
H 86° L 61°
  • cloudy-day
    79°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 86° L 61°
  • cloudy-day
    80°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 86° L 61°
  • cloudy-day
    64°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 79° L 59°
Listen
Pause
Error

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Northeast Florida Supervisors seek election security funding
Close

Northeast Florida Supervisors seek election security funding

Northeast Florida Supervisors seek election security funding
Photo Credit: Robert Alonso

Northeast Florida Supervisors seek election security funding

Florida has approved using a $19 million federal grant for election security, and Northeast Florida counties are trying to get their share.

The funding is part of $380 million in election security grants distributed across the nation. Every Florida county that applies is eligible for at least $50,000, with more being distributed based on the county’s voting age population, as measured by the 2010 census. 

Duval County is seeking more than $540,000. Director of Information Technology Stan Bethea says a big part of that is for a system called ALBERT, which monitors network traffic and looks for malicious activity. The system further alerts about anything suspicious, like attempts to get in to the network. Bethea says ALBERT has been on their radar for several months and it is unlike anything they have now. 

Some of the other Duval County requests include upgrading precinct tabulator modems to 4G, since their current 3G technology will not be supported much longer; higher resolution security cameras for their main office and election center; and upgrading the Windows operating system that’s currently used for electronic poll books at precincts on Election Day. 

St. Johns County already has ALBERT- it’s one of many improvements that Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes says they’ve made in recent years. They’re seeking reimbursement for that from the State. 

From the federal grant, Oakes says they have about $115,000 in requests. They’re looking to upgrade firewall protection technology with advanced threat protection and reaction capabilities and boost their backup system at the County Emergency Operations Center, among other things. 

“They’re additional layers of protections that we don’t have the funding to do right now. However, all of the steps that we’ve already taken already, I feel very confident. I have the confidence in our system that we have in place at this time,” Oakes says. 

Baker County’s ask is around $66,000, with Supervisor of Elections Nita Crawford looking for a lot of infrastructure improvements at their office. 

“We can, and have, operated with it this far, but it could also be better for security,” she says. 

They’re requesting funding to put new locks around the office, including rooms where they secure ballots, the entrance, the server room, and more; upgrades for their driver’s license scanning system; upgraded cameras for the office’ two new printers for ballots at their office; and a backup plan that would allow them to store things in Tallahassee. 

Clay County Supervisor of Elections Chris Chambless did not want to go in to many specifics about how much they were asking for and what that funding would cover, but he says they’re generally looking to improve what are already some good systems. 

“Election security from a physical standpoint, for strengthening our systems, specifically for- you know- intrusion and detection and remediation,” Chambless says. 

Regardless of what specifically he’s looking to obtain, he shared the same message as the other local supervisors- whether or not these improvements are made ahead of the August primary, they’re ready for the election. 

“The public should rest assured that, in the State of Florida, there has never been a penetration of a tabulation network or of a voter registration network, and that security is always on the forefront of our minds, even prior to this current cybersecurity threat,” he says. 

The Associated Press reports that recent federal indictments on alleged attempted Russian hacking of the 2016 presidential election showed that county offices in Florida and two other states were targeted. Florida election officials have declined to say specifically which counties.


Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • In a shocking video that may be difficult for some to watch, a WSOC-TV viewer captured footage of hundreds of birds scattered across the ground near the entrance of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, after flying into the side of the building. >> Read more trending news  Hollie Cameron's disturbing cellphone video shows dozens of birds lying on the ground outside the building and captures other birds crashing into the large windows. WSOC reporter Gina Esposito spoke with the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, who said their rehab team responded to the NASCAR Hall of Fame around 11 p.m. and treated hundreds of birds. They said a total of 310 birds hit the windows of the building. Roughly one-third of those birds were dead when they arrived, and another third was seriously injured. The rest appeared to be stunned but will be OK, the organization said. >> Watch the clip here (WARNING: Some viewers may find the video below disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.) In the video, Cameron watched as a bird crashed into the window and then fell to the ground, joining dozens of others. Cameron told WSOC that she was working in the area when she started recording on her phone around 9 p.m. You can hear her talking with a security guard who claims the phenomenon had been going on for about an hour. 'Oh my God, look at them all,' Cameron says in the video. 'There's something wrong with them. This is not OK.' Carolina Waterfowl Rescue posted more video on Facebook of the birds at their facility. About 100 of the surviving birds are being treated for broken wings and fractures. The rescue group said the birds are chimney swifts and that the colony lives in a roost. They think something disturbed the colony Tuesday night, causing the birds to fly into the windows at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Carolina Waterfowl Rescue officials told WSOC that this was not a naturally occurring event and the birds' migration could not have been a factor because the swifts only migrate during the day. They plan to investigate more on Wednesday. CMPD reportedly responded to the scene to begin cleaning up the birds. Carolina Waterfowl Rescue said rehabbing the injured birds is expensive, and they desperately need volunteers since the birds will need to be hand-fed. Visit their Facebook page for more details on how you can help.
  • Plan to drive through times of scattered showers today ahead of a cool front that will bring drier, more refreshing air to end the week.  Action News Jax Meteorologist Garrett Bedenbaugh says some rain may be heavy at times with a few rumbles of thunder.  Overall rainfall totals are not expected to be great, but the rainfall is needed.  By Thursday morning you’ll begin to feel a change with drier air and high temperatures only in the upper 70’s.  Friday morning lows may fall into the upper 50’s in some neighborhoods, and high temperatures will only be in the upper 70’s.  The weekend is looking a little warmer and wetter at times with a few showers on Saturday and scattered showers on Sunday. 
  • Four separate shootings over a 24-hour period in Jacksonville has left at least six people wounded and, so far, no arrests have been announced by police.  Early this morning a man was shot on W. 17th Street, near RV Daniels Elementary School.  He was taken to a local hospital with a single gunshot wound to the leg. JSO had no suspect description and was asking for tips to Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.  Just after 10 pm on Tuesday, two young men between the ages of 17 and 20 were shot while sitting in a vehicle on Timmerman Lane. Both shooting victims had non-life-threatening injuries. JSO had no evidence to confirm if this was a drive-by shooting.  Around 5:20 pm on Tuesday, police were called to a shooting on Orton Street, where two men were treated and transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No suspect information was given at the scene by detectives.  On Miss Muffet Lane on the westside just after 6 pm on Tuesday, police responded to reports of shots fired. An off-duty officer was called about a gunshot wound victim at Park West ER. He was taken to Orange Park Medical Center in critical condition.  According to JSO, two groups of people in two separate cars that left the area were being questioned by detectives.  
  • A Pennsylvania mom is in critical condition after police said she killed her children and husband, then shot herself, Philadelphia police said. >> Read more trending news  Here are the latest updates: Update 5:49 a.m. EDT Oct. 16: Authorities have identified the woman accused of killing her children and husband late Monday in Philadelphia's Tacony neighborhood, multiple news outlets are reporting. According to WPVI-TV, Damyrra Jones Alcindor, 28, also shot herself, police said. As she was rushed to a nearby hospital, she reportedly told officials she did not want to be resuscitated. Philadelphia police Homicide Capt. Jason Smith said Alcindor admitted to fatally shooting her two daughters, ages 10 months and 4 years, as well as their father, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday afternoon. Although police did not release the victims' names, a family member identified them as Max Alcindor, 38; Maxilla, 4; and Damaya, 10 months, WCAU-TV reported. Investigators said Alcindor, who legally bought the handgun earlier Monday, is facing murder charges in the case, according to WCAU. Original report: According to KYW-TV and the Philadelphia Inquirer, the deadly shooting occurred just before 10 p.m. Monday at a home in Philadelphia's Tacony neighborhood. Police said the 29-year-old woman fatally shot her two daughters, ages 10 months and 4 years, as well as their 35-year-old father. All three victims suffered gunshot wounds to the head, authorities said. When police arrived at the Hegerman Street home, they discovered the woman outside 'lying on top of a gun,' the Inquirer reported. Authorities said the woman, who apparently shot herself, was taken to a nearby hospital. Philadelphia police have not released the names of the woman or the victims, the news outlets reported. Read more here or here.
  • Authorities in Indiana said a baby is alive and well after someone discovered the child inside a plastic bag near a fence in Seymour. >> Read more trending news  According to the Tribune and WAVE-TV, police responded to a call about the infant just before 4 p.m. Tuesday. A resident, who had been walking a dog off South Jackson Park Drive, found the child about 60 feet away from the street, investigators said. Crews rushed the baby to a nearby hospital, the news outlets reported. Doctors said the child is healthy, according to WAVE. Seymour police have not yet made any arrests in connection with the incident, the Tribune reported. Read more here or here.

The Latest News Videos