2016 Elections

The elections office of Florida's third-most populous county was breached by a crippling cyberattack in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, NPR confirmed on Thursday.

There is no indication that the ransomware attack was connected to Russian interference efforts leading up to the last presidential race, but the revelation about it now shows how election officials are preparing for this year's election without knowing all the details of what happened before.

DeSantis Redistributes Election Security Money

Jun 17, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis stands at a podium surrounded by officials as he announces a plan to evaluate the security of Florida's elections systems.
Courtesy Governor's Press Office

A month after learning Russian hackers breached elections systems in two Florida counties in 2016, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday said his administration is focused on identifying “any vulnerabilities” ahead of next year’s elections.

The Republican governor announced he is redistributing $2.3 million in election-security money that went unspent by county elections supervisors last year. The funds are in addition to $2.8 million for elections cybersecurity Florida lawmakers earmarked in the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

Florida lawmakers were angry Thursday when they emerged from an FBI briefing that left them with unanswered questions about the two county election offices in their state that were breached by Russian cyberattacks in 2016.

With less than four months to go, how much are this year's midterm elections at risk for the kind of interference sowed by Russia in 2016?

Twenty-one-year-old Representative Amber Mariano is vowing to put the “fresh” in freshman as the youngest woman ever elected to the Florida House.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton finds herself on the wrong end of an electoral split, moving ahead in the popular vote but losing to President-elect Donald Trump in the Electoral College, according to election results that are still being finalized.

As of midday Thursday ET, Clinton had amassed 59,938,290 votes nationally, to Trump's 59,704,886 — a margin of 233,404 that puts Clinton on track to become the fifth U.S. presidential candidate to win the popular vote but lose the election.

Gage Skidmore (Wikimedia)

Republican businessman Donald Trump won the key battleground state of Florida on Tuesday, edging out former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after a fierce campaign.

NPR’s politics team will be here all night with up-to-the-minute results, news, analysis and updates from around the country.

Quincy Walters

Voters around the Tampa Bay area are heading to the polls today to decide several key races. Follow WUSF staff and journalism students from the University of South Florida as we bring you live coverage.

Preliminary numbers show record participation in early voting in Florida. In fact, according to the latest figures from the Florida Department of State, close to 5.3 million residents of the state have already cast their ballots. Decision Florida looks at how electoral authorities are dealing with reports of irregularities and how Florida is getting ready for expected historic turnout on Nov. 8. 

Cathy Carter

A capacity crowd of 700 filled the State Theatre in St. Petersburg Saturday night to hear Jon Bon Jovi make his case for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The musician played some acoustic versions of his hits and reminded the audience how Florida in the past has decided the outcome of the presidency.

WUSF Public Media

We’re nearing Election Day, and millions of Florida residents are still contemplating who they will select to represent them in Tallahassee and local offices.

Most of the attention this campaign season has focused on the important presidential race, and some voters may still be wondering about the candidates for school board and state legislative races.

Daylina Miller/WUSF News

Early voting ends this weekend in Florida, and elections supervisors are predicting a record turn out.

To help cut down on wait times, several county websites are offering a "wait time" tool that updates every hour.  

Quincy Walters / WUSF News

National polls show that it's a tight race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. A west Tampa bakery has a presidential poll of its own. 

Alessi Bakery, which has been in Tampa since 1912, has had this cookie poll since 2004. 

This election season has been unprecedented – even by Florida’s standards. From the panhandle to the peninsula, the Sunshine State’s residents are talking about Trump vs. Clinton, the race for the U.S. Senate, new political boundaries and familiar issues: the economy, health care, water, education and guns.

That’s why WUSF 89.7 joined with other public radio stations across the state to bring you the voices of voters and a weekly discussion to help make sense of the issues.

Solar Amendment Is Losing Support

Nov 3, 2016

Polls are showing that Amendment 1, which supporters say gives Floridians the right to own solar equipment, has seen a rapid decline in support over the past month.

According to a poll conducted by St. Leo University, the amendment had 84 percent support from likely voters in September, and now has 59 percent.

Elections 2016: House District 66 Candidate Lorena Grizzle

Nov 3, 2016

When she ran for the Legislature two years ago, Lorena Grizzle was clobbered by a well-financed Republican incumbent in a Republican-leaning House district.

So why is she trying again?

Elections 2016: House District 69 Candidate Jennifer Webb

Nov 3, 2016

Two and a half years ago, Jennifer Webb went to Massachusetts to celebrate one sister’s college graduation and try to convince another sister that her life mattered.

It was too late. Beset by drug addiction and depression, her troubled sister did the unimaginable: She killed herself in front of her family.

Age: 36

Education: Louisiana State University, two bachelor’s degrees; University of South Florida, master’s degree

Occupation:  Director of community partnerships, USF Tampa

Election 2016: House District 65 Candidate Bernard “Bernie” Fensterwald

Nov 3, 2016

In 2009, Bernard “Bernie” Fensterwald retired to Florida. But he is no ordinary retiree.

As a lawyer in northern Virginia, he worked alongside his father, an intriguing, somewhat mysterious attorney whose clients included the man who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr., and one of the five Watergate burglars.

Age: 65

Education: Vanderbilt University, bachelor’s degree; Tulane University School of Law, J.D.; Virginia Tech, master’s in education

Occupation: Retired; owner of storage business

Election 2016: House District 66 Candidate Larry Ahern

Nov 3, 2016

Larry Ahern’s introduction to politics came on a trip to the state Capitol in 2009.

He was in Tallahassee for the annual Catholic Days at the Capitol event, when church members take tours, get policy briefings, and meet legislators.

Election 2016: House District 69 Candidate Kathleen Peters

Nov 3, 2016

In politics, you can’t start much smaller than Kathleen Peters did – on the Planning and Zoning Board in tiny South Pasadena (population 4,964) in 2006.

But that post led to election to the City Commission, which led to three years as mayor and then the state House of Representatives in 2012.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Vice President Joe Biden describes himself as a "Middle Class Joe.” And during a campaign swing through Tampa on Wednesday, he called on other "middle class folks" to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

About 150 supporters greeted Biden under a blazing sun outside the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. He took the stage just before noon, noting Florida is seeing another razor-thin race for president.

Elections 2016: Pinellas County Commission District 3 Candidate Charlie Justice

Nov 2, 2016

Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice rode into office four years ago with a promise to reverse the commission’s controversial 2011 decision to remove fluoride from the county’s water system.

Now he is running for re-election against an opponent who is sharply critical of a different County Commission decision – a 2013 vote to block a luxury condominium project in Safety Harbor.

Age: 48

Education: St. Petersburg College, associate degree; University of South Florida, bachelor’s degree

Elections 2016: Pinellas County School Board District 5 Candidate Eliseo Santana

Nov 2, 2016

A delinquent and troublemaker – violent and unteachable.

Those are the words that Eliseo Santana uses to describe himself as a teenager in the early 1970s.

Elections 2016: Pinellas County Commission District 3 Candidate Mike Mikurak, Republican

Nov 2, 2016

Something sounds familiar in Pinellas County this election season.   

Mike Mikurak, the Republican running for the only County Commission seat up for grabs, says “it’s time to put a businessman and not a politician in charge of our tax dollars.”

Age: 62

   Education: Mercer County (N.J.) Community College, associate degree; Rider University, bachelor’s degree in business administration

   Occupation: Retired businessman and consultant, civic activist

Elections 2016: Pinellas County School Board District 1 Candidate Matt Stewart

Nov 2, 2016

If Matt Stewart wins election to the Pinellas County School Board, he would be its  youngest member, at 36, and the only one with a doctorate.

But another attribute, he said, would be more beneficial to the board. He’s the parent of a public school child – a distinction shared by none of the current board members. (Newly elected member Eileen Long has two children in public school.)

Age: 36

Elections 2016: Pinellas County School Board District 5 Candidate Carol Cook

Nov 2, 2016

Carol Cook never thought it would come to this.

She planned on having a seat on the Pinellas County School Board wrapped up by now.  Instead what she has, is a fight for re-election.

Age: 65

 Education: University of South Florida, bachelor’s degree

 Occupation: School Board member, retired teacher

 Political Experience: Pinellas County School Board member, 2000-present

Elections 2016: Pinellas County School Board District 1 Candidate Joanne Lentino

Nov 2, 2016

She has high kicked with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, shared a stage with Jimmy Durante, managed a city department in Las Vegas and taught in public elementary schools in south Pinellas County.

Now Joanne Lentino wants another job: Pinellas County School Board member.

  Age: 67

   Education: University of Nevada Las Vegas, bachelor’s degree

   Occupation: Retired elementary school teacher

Elections 2016: Hillsborough County Commission District 6 Candidate Tim Schock

Nov 2, 2016

Tim Schock, the Republican candidate for District 6 County Commissioner, is heading into the general election with one central message: he is not a career politician. And he says he’s running a homegrown campaign to prove it.

Elections 2016: Hillsborough County Commission District 6 Candidate Pat Kemp

Nov 2, 2016

Patricia “Pat” Kemp is a mother of two twenty-somethings, a family law attorney and former chief aide to a county commissioner, among other jobs, and now this Democrat has her goal set on being a county commissioner herself.

The 59 year-old is running against Republican Tim Schock.

Age: 59

Education: Boston University, Stetson University College of Law

Occupation: Solar Consultant

Political Experience: Legislative Aide to State Representative Sara Romeo; Chief Aide to Hillsborough County Commissioner Kathy Castor