Illinois’ most populous county has a plan to keep hackers out, after the state’s voter registration list was breached during last year’s presidential race. There’s one big sticking point: the money. The director of elections for Illinois’ Cook County and a group including Ambassador Douglas Lute will present a strategy to bolster U.S. election systems’ defenses against foreign intruders on Thursday. That roadmap comes with a request for the federal government to fund their plan, underlining a hurdle for many municipalities as they head into the 2018 midterm and 2020 presidential elections. While last year’s general election made clear the voting system was vulnerable to hackers, and the federal government has instructed the nation’s 9,000 election officials to make their voting rolls safer, many municipalities lack funding to make these changes.
The last time there was significant federal funding for election infrastructure at the local level was the Help America Vote Act of 2002, passed in the aftermath of the controversy surrounding the 2000 president election recount. That resulted in almost $3 billion in funds for new voting equipment.
“For a relatively modest investment it seems to me that we can shore up the system significantly,” Noah Praetz told USA TODAY.