With the 2020 election rapidly approaching, Verified Voting continues to urge Congress to pass comprehensive election security legislation and allocate adequate funding for state and local officials to make critical improvements to our country’s election infrastructure.
Congress is negotiating a spending package for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to allocate funding for states to make much-needed election security upgrades. The House approved a $600 million package in June, while late last week the Senate offered a $250 million amendment. The House and Senate will work to reconcile the final funding amount and spending parameters in a conference committee, and Verified Voting urges Congress to act quickly while crucial election security funding remains on the line.
In a statement on the Senate’s version last week, Verified Voting President Marian K. Schneider said:
“The additional $250 million in election security funding today is promising, but more is needed to help states upgrade their systems and validate the 2020 election. This amount falls short of the $600 million that passed in the House, which is much closer to meeting the need for proper investment in election security. Congress has the obligation to protect the country from threats to national security and has the opportunity to act on this nonpartisan issue – after all, everyone votes on the same equipment.
“By making federal funds available, states will be able to replace aging, insecure voting equipment and implement modern security best practices, which include using voter-marked paper ballots and robust post-election audits. Despite the progress shown today, Congress still needs to vote on bipartisan, comprehensive election security legislation to protect and ensure trustworthy elections backed by adequate funds for state and local governments to implement such measures.”
In the 2020 election, 99 percent of votes cast will be counted either by computerized voting machines on which voters cast their ballots or – in the case of voter-marked paper ballots – by scanners, which are also computers. Election systems are only resilient if states and counties can monitor, detect, respond and recover from a potential attack. Verified Voting is working together with jurisdictions to improve vulnerable voting systems by advocating for voter-marked paper ballots, a strong chain of custody of those ballots, and rigorous post-election ballot audits (risk-limiting audits). Lack of adequate funding is the biggest roadblock for states and counties to upgrade their voting infrastructure. Counties also need financial resources to adequately implement new processes for voting systems, including staff training, poll worker training, and voter education.
The federal government has an obligation to protect our democracy from cyberattacks by passing comprehensive election security legislation and allocating funding for states to secure their voting systems. The funding bills being considered in the conference committee also need to establish spending parameters. Verified Voting’s recommendations include replacing Direct Recording Electronic voting systems with voter-marked paper ballots, adopting rigorous post-election audits like risk-limiting audits, and investing in securing all aspects of election infrastructure – at all levels – from cyber attack. View Verified Voting’s full list of recommendations here.
Verified Voting urges Congress to pass comprehensive, bipartisan election security legislation and funding. State and local jurisdictions have no time to waste in securing their voting systems before 2020 and they need the resources to do it.