House Administration Democrats Direct EAC to Provide Guidance to States for Election Security Grants
Peter Whippy (202) 225-3072
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Committee on House Administration Democrats - Ranking Member Robert A. Brady (D-Pa.), Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) – led a new letter signed by 28 House Democrats to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) requesting that they provide states with information on Congress’ intended uses for $380 million recently appropriated under the Consolidated Appropriations Act.
In March, Democratic budget negotiators successfully secured $380 million under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) for states to use to replace aging and vulnerable voting machines with paper ballots and to provide cybersecurity training. While the Election Security Task Force reports that states will need an additional $1.2 billion to secure their systems and replace outdated voting equipment that is most vulnerable to hacking – the $380 million already appropriated must be spent wisely by states to help protect against another attack on our elections.
“Congress appropriated these funds because it wanted states to be able to take the necessary steps to secure their voting systems well in advance of the 2018 elections. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 requires that the EAC make funds available no later than 45 days after the enactment of the Act. Further, the Act was accompanied by a bipartisan joint explanatory statement that clearly specifies what Congress believes to be the most urgent priorities, stating that states may use these grants to do the following:
- Replace voting equipment that only records a voter’s intent electronically with equipment that utilizes a voter verified paper record;
- Implement a post-election audit system that provides a high level of confidence in the accuracy of the final vote tally;
- Upgrade election related computer systems to address cyber vulnerabilities identified through Department of Homeland Security, or similar scans or assessments of, existing election systems;
- Facilitate cybersecurity training for the state chief election official’s office and local election officials;
- Implement established cybersecurity best practices for election systems; and
- Fund other activities that will improve the security of elections for Federal office.
“Thus, it was Congress’ clear intent that these funds be used to improve election security, and that any new voting machines purchased with these funds have a voter-verifiable paper record.”
The members requested that the EAC take the following steps:
- Send a letter to each state and territory chief election official outlining Congress’ intended uses for HAVA grants
- Refer to the language of the joint explanatory statement when a state or locality seeks guidance from the EAC on use of HAVA grants
- Do not permit the grant money to be used to purchase new paperless voting machines
# # #