State election officials plan to spend about two thirds of election security money allocated by Congress earlier this year on new voting equipment and cybersecurity efforts, though not all the improvements will be completed before the November elections. New data gathered by the federal agency that distributes the funds detail how states plan to spend $380 million appropriated by Congress in March to upgrade election security. States plan to spend roughly $134.2 million on cybersecurity upgrades over five years, and $102.6 million on voting equipment, according to the data released by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. States plan to spend the rest of the federal funding on measures that include upgrading voter-registration databases, bolstering postelection auditing and communications capabilities.
Every state and eligible U.S. territories have requested the funds, and 96% of the money has been disbursed to date. The commission said most of the states plan to use the money within the next two to three years. States are obligated to request the grants within five years and provide a 5% match. But states have substantial discretion over how to use the money, said Thomas Hicks, the commission’s chairman.
“States are using this money for what it was intended, and that is to upgrade security issues,” he said in an interview.
State election officials have been under pressure to upgrade their systems in light of U.S. intelligence officials’ warnings that state voting systems could be targeted by foreign hackers ahead of the November midterm elections.
Full Article: States Detail Election-Security Plans – WSJ.