Protecting Election Systems Will Take Much More Federal Money, Report Says

Protecting Election Systems Will Take Much More Federal Money, Report Says

States and local election offices need much more financial support from the federal government to create reliably secure election systems that can withstand attempts at interference from foreign governments, according to a new report.

After Russian hackers sought to interfere with the 2016 election, Congress in 2018 approved $380 million for states to help them improve election security. States are expected to spend most of the money ahead of the 2020 balloting, but the report from the Brennan Center for Justice cautions that each state faces particular challenges that won’t be resolved before the next big election.

The report, which was also sponsored by the Alliance for Securing Democracy, R Street Institute and University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security, examined six states, finding that all had taken steps to shore up vulnerabilities. But in each state, big problems that come with big price tags remain, such as old voting equipment that is more vulnerable to hacking, aging voter registration systems and states failing to provide sufficient cybersecurity assistance to local governments.

Although the authors only examined six states, they said these problems and others likely exist in the other 44 states and the District of Columbia—noting it is unwise to expect state and local governments to have the resources to repel foreign intelligence agencies seeking to interfere in an election.


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