Local Supervisor of Elections responds to hacking reports

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - National media outlets are reporting a Florida Panhandle county is one of two counties hacked by Russia in the 2016 elections. Governor Ron DeSantis told Floridians that those two counties are classified but no votes were changed in the hack.

National media outlets are reporting Washington County is one of two Florida counties hacked by Russia. (MGN)

Friday, WJHG/WECP asked Washington County about the reports it is one of the counties that were hacked. Supervisor of Elections Carol Finch Rudd released a statement saying in part, "At this time Washington County can neither confirm nor deny that they are one of the counties affected."

The statement continues on to say all of Florida's counties are working with the FBI and DHS.

Rudd's statement also references another statement released by the FBI, which reads in part, "The FBI provided information involving the attempted intrusion into Supervisor of Elections networks throughout the state. The FBI also provided assurance that investigators did not detect any adversary activity that impacted vote counts or disrupted electoral processes during the 2016 or 2018 elections."

Many locals are saying it’s hard to believe.

“I wouldn’t believe it. Not for Washington County or Jackson County these smaller counties around here," said Northern Florida Resident Emma Wright.

“I don’t really feel like Washington County was marked with that situation," said Washington County Resident Johnny Weeks.

Many national news outlets are identifying Washington County as one of the two Florida counties hacked by the Russian Government during the 2016 Presidential election.

“I just can’t see how we could affect any type of election," said Wright.

“It was more of a ‘he say she say’ kinda thing," said Weeks.

Officials with the Washington County Supervisor of Elections Office say According to the Washington County officials, FBI Investigators say the possible hacked information didn’t affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. they can neither confirm or deny they were one of the counties affected.

However, the hackers may have accessed voter information such as addresses, phone numbers, and other personal info.

“We’re needing to give our information for certain things and person. Some of that stuff bothers me. How can we protect that?" said Wright.

Earlier this week Governor Ron DeSantis confirmed the voter databases of two undisclosed counties in Florida were hacked, but State Senator George Gainer says he doesn’t believe Washington County was one of them.

“In Washington County, Ms. Rudd certainly runs a great Office, and she would know if anything happened breached. There’s no reason to believe any of our elections have been compromised," said Gainer.

Washington County officials say they along with all the other counties in Florida have had on-site visits, collection of evidence and other interactions with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security since the midterm elections.

The complete statement has been attached to this article.

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