As states start receiving their slice of a new federal fund to enhance the administration of elections, an ensemble of election security advocates is calling on the officials to spend that money on things like replacing paperless machines and improving network security. Signatories of an open letter to election officials in all 50 states include subject matter experts from think tanks and universities, former state election officials and former federal government officials. State and local election officials have been deliberating over how to make the best use of a $380 million election improvement fund that Congress included in an omnibus spending bill last month.
“While federal funding can help states address these issues, simply upgrading or replacing election infrastructure is not sufficient,” the letter states.
At the top of the list, the group urges states to replace paperless voting machines with ones that produce a paper record — “a physical record of the vote that is out of reach from cyberattacks.” The U.S. is currently a mosaic of states and lower jurisdictions using different types of voting machines, some with a paper trail and some without. Some states started to move toward paper-based systems before the funding was a reality.