Thirteen states have withdrawn a total of nearly $88 million from an election security fund established by Congress in March, but more than 75 percent of the funding has yet to be dispersed. The $380 million fund, established as part of Congress’ omnibus appropriations bill, is meant to aid state officials in securing and improving election systems, whether through technical upgrades, cybersecurity audits, or by replacing vulnerable paperless electronic voting machines with paper-based systems. Although it makes up only fraction of what some experts say is needed—the Center for American Progress, for example, has suggested $1.25 billion over a 10-year period, which is close to what Democrats pushed for in February—the funding will ostensibly go a long way toward ensuring the continuation of free and fair elections in the United States, namely by hardening certain systems against hackers who might seek to tamper with the results.
In addition to the $88 million that’s already been dispersed, another $50-75 million is expected to be withdrawn soon, Gizmodo has learned. Officials in as many as 17 states this week notified the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) of their intent to submit their request letters. The states that have already accessed funds include Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New York, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
… According to an EAC source, the agency is anticipating requests by the end of the month from Alaska, South Dakota, New Jersey, Iowa, Idaho, Florida, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, and the District of Columbia.
In some cases, states are still working through the process of passing legislation required before requesting federal assistance, as the grant requires states to match 5 percent of the funds awarded. New York, for example, has received nearly $19.5 million from the EAC and must, within the next two years, deposit roughly $1 million of its own cash into state election accounts.