The Trump administration has told states exactly how much of a $380 million fund they will get to make their voting systems more cyber-secure ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The funding, made available through a $1.3 trillion omnibus package passed last week, is one of Congress’s first major steps to prevent a repeat of Russian hackers’ meddling in U.S. elections. The money can be used to upgrade state computer systems and offer cybersecurity training to election officials, among other things. California, Florida, New York and Texas together will get a quarter of the cash, with California leading the pack with about $35 million. A full breakdown of the funding can be found here. The money is a “breakthrough for election security and the health of our country’s democracy,” said Lawrence Norden of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law.
… In a statement to CyberScoop, Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., co-founder of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, welcomed the $3 million his state is set to receive, but emphasized that the money is “just a down payment and that we will need to continue to make investments in securing all aspects of our voting process.”
Marian Schneider, president of Verified Voting, a nonprofit that advocates for voting accuracy and transparency, said the money is “a good first step” but not enough to replace paperless voting machines that could fall prey to digital manipulation. Thirteen states use such paperless systems.
“Even if all of the funds were used to replace equipment, these funds would only be a fraction of the amount required in New Jersey, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and Mississippi,” Schneider said.