Most states won’t have risk-limiting audits in place by the November midterms, which makes how they spend the $380 million in federal funding for election security, due out within 39 days, that much more important. Congress included the money in the omnibus spending bill, at the Senate Intelligence Committee’s recommendation, to be disbursed to states under the Help America Vote Act and spent on verifiable paper balloting, post-election audits of votes and cyber defenses. The appropriation is a good first step in shoring up voting systems against Russian-connected hacking, according to election security experts, but it doesn’t come close to replacing vulnerable polling place equipment in most at-risk states. “I wouldn’t say it’s a drop in the bucket—a glass of water in the bucket,” Joe Kiniry, Free & Fair CEO and chief scientist, told Route Fifty by phone. “A big corporation spends this much money on cybersecurity in a year.”
… Whether states have time before the midterms to deploy new voting machines depends on where they are in the certification process and how quickly state and county procurement processes move afterward.
But about 70 percent of voters are already on a paper record, said Marian Schneider, president of the Verified Voting, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization.
“If states already have paper ballots, yes, there is time to implement an audit process certainly before 2020 and, since we’re only in March, before the midterms,” Schneider said.