National: Time’s running out if Congress wants to boost 2020 election security | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post
If Congress wants to deliver more money for states to secure the 2020 election against hackers, it had better get moving. That’s the message from Vermont’s top election official, Jim Condos (D), who ends his term as president of the National Association of Secretaries of State this week. There are just about six months left during which states could responsibly spend a big infusion of federal money aimed at protecting the 2020 contest, Condos told me. If Congress approves new funding after that, most of it won’t be spent until the next federal election cycle, he said. The warning comes as intelligence officials are cautioning that Russia and other U.S. adveraries are likely to try to interfere in the 2020 election in a repeat of the Russian hacking and disinformation operation that upended the 2016 contest. “It takes time to plan, to do assessments. We all have procurement rules we have to follow … and we want to be responsible stewards of congressional money,” Condos told me by phone from the National Association of Secretaries of States’s summer conference in Santa Fe, N.M. The prospects of Congress delivering new money in that timeframe don’t look good.