The Murphy administration has decided how it will spend $10.2 million on election security initiatives, mostly federal aid that will pay for cybersecurity, database improvements and auditing the accuracy of election machines. Among the uses for the funds will be implementing automatic voter registration at the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission agencies and helping some counties acquire voting machines that create a voter-verified paper audit trail. Among the 13 states with paperless voting machines, only Indiana and Texas are committing a smaller percentage of their new Help America Vote Act funds toward voting equipment than the $2.5 million New Jersey plans to spend. “The state’s plan to spend the HAVA funds I think is really thorough, but it’s important to note that the amount of funds that they’re talking about is really just a drop in the bucket to what they really need to update our election systems,” said Jesse Burns, the executive director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. The funding includes $9.76 million in federal funds, part of $380 million in grants the federal Election Assistance Commission is making available through a law enacted in March, and $487,873 in required state matching funds.
The Brennan Center for Law and Justice at New York University estimates it would cost between $40.4 million and $63.5 million for New Jersey to replace all its voting machines with ones that create a paper trail.
Nationally, 28 percent of HAVA funds are being spent on voting equipment, similar to New Jersey’s 26 percent.
But shares vary significantly, with some states spending nothing on such equipment. Half of the states with paperless voting machines are spending at least 80 percent of their HAVA funds on voting equipment, including all the money to Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana and Pennsylvania.