EAC Provides Details About $380M in Election Security Grants

August 22, 2018 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

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ballot-1440045Looking back many years ago to my days in elementary school, I remember how we used to vote on random options that came up before our classroom. We would all put our heads on our desks, we’d hide our faces, and we’d raise our hand for whichever option we preferred among the list asked by the teacher. Whichever option receiving the most raised hands won. Plain and simple!

American voting, however, is anything but, and a slew of federal grant dollars are being disbursed to ensure that such voting is fair, accurate and not impacted by outside sources. Case in point, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) this week released narratives and budgets for 48 of the 55 states and territories that receive a portion of new grant funds appropriated in March under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Election Security Fund. The $380 million in funding marked the first new appropriations for HAVA funds since federal fiscal year 2010, and these funds were designated to improve the administration of elections for federal office.

Most of these funds will be used for new voting equipment and enhanced cybersecurity protections for the 48 states and territories included in the EAC’s release, which noted that seven remaining states have requested extensions and their information will be released at a later date.

“Just five months after Congress appropriated these vital funds, states and territories have money in the bank and new plans in place to protect the security, accessibility and efficiency of federal elections,” said EAC Chairman Thomas Hicks. “The EAC is a proud partner in this accomplishment and we are pleased to share narratives and budgets that detail the impact these funds will have across the nation.”

More specifically:

  • 36.3 percent of the funds will be spent by 41 states planning to improve election cybersecurity. Six of the states not investing in cybersecurity are using all of their funds to replace voting equipment.
  • 27.8 percent of the funds will be spent on the purchase of new voting equipment in 34 states.
  • 13.7 percent of the funds will be used to improve voter registration systems in 29 states.
  • 5.6 percent of the funds have been allocated for post-election audit activities in 24 states.
  • 2.0 percent of the funds will be used to improve election-related communications efforts in 18 states.
  • 14.6 percent of the funds will be used for other state-specified activities, such as being held in reserve for future programming.

Most states and territories plan to spend their allotted funds within the next two to three years.

The amount of funds issued under this program shows how complex the election process has become in our country, and as technology matures, these complexities will only grow. Hopefully these funds can help to better ensure our elections are accurate and protected, because we don’t foresee a time when we as a nation will use the “head down, arm raised” method nationwide any time soon.

Let us know what you think about these funds and if you think this enough to ensure fair elections. We’d love to hear from you.


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