The $380 million of Federal funds allocated to election security is not sufficient, and additional Federal support will be needed to secure the 2020 election, says a new report.
The report – authored by experts from the Alliance for Securing Democracy, the Brennan Center for Justice, the R Street Institute, and the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security – details election security challenges in six states during the 2018 mid-term elections.
"Critically, in 2018 Congress provided $380 million in Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grant funds to help states bolster their election security. Grant recipient states had to submit a grant narrative—a list of specific election security projects (and estimated costs) that the state planned to fund with grant money—and provide a 5 percent state match within two years," the report says. "Based on information that the states submitted to the Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) as part of the grant process, recipients are using the vast majority of this money to strengthen election cybersecurity, purchase new voting equipment, and improve postelection audits — all pressing needs around which there is broad bipartisan consensus. The EAC has estimated that 85 percent of the money Congress has provided will be spent ahead of the 2020 election.Unfortunately, given the myriad security challenges faced by these states, the $380 million is not enough to address the needs of state and local offices; many have substantial election security needs that likely will not be met absent additional federal support," the report notes.
The report examines six key states (Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania) that represent different regions of the country, varied population sizes, and the full range of election security needs. It investigates how they have allocated their share of the 2018 federal election security grants and documents their needs for additional election security funding. States’ use of HAVA funds is tailored to their specific requirements and reflects the nature of the state and local governments that oversee elections.