The $380 million of Federal funds currently allocated to election security is not sufficient, and additional Federal support will be needed to secure the 2020 election, according to a new report from four nonprofit organizations.

The report – authored by experts from the Alliance for Securing Democracy, the Brennan Center for Justice, the R Street Institute, and the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security – details election security challenges in six states during the 2018 mid-term elections.

“In administering our elections, states face security challenges of unprecedented magnitude. They are, in many cases, ill-equipped to defend themselves against the sophisticated, well-resourced intelligence agencies of foreign governments,” the report notes.

The report describes how states used their Federal funds in 2018, which initiatives they undertook, and efforts that state election officials said they didn’t have the funding to implement. Examples of unfunded initiatives include efforts to replace legacy voting equipment, fund cybersecurity services for local officials, and fully address known cyber vulnerabilities.

“While the authors have limited their review to a sampling of six states, it is clear that the other 44 states and the District of Columbia have similar unfunded needs,” the report states.

While the paper does not make recommendations on funding levels, it does note that each state has its own unique needs, and varying priorities for different election systems.

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MeriTalk Staff