The stalemate has been broken over election security funding. After previously indicating that he would not support a bill offering more funding, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signed on to a bill that will add $250 million for U.S. election security in the run up to the 2020 presidential election. The change of heart occurred as McConnell said the bill will allocate the funds in an appropriate manner without unreasonable new congressional mandates.
Despite this sum of money being allocated to election security, not everyone is happy with the outcome. For one, Democrats like Chuck Schumer have expressed that the bill should have included policy proposals such as mandatory paper backups for every ballot and measures to curb foreign election interference.
The bill also makes very little difference for the Election Assistance Commission, which will see its budget raised by about $2 million against almost $4 million in new expenditures for an office relocation and a National Institute for Standards and Technology project. The lack of funding to this federal group has left it with under half the employees it had in 2010 and unable to respond to some of the cybersecurity assistance requests of state and local jurisdictions.
While $250 million is certainly a sizable investment, the House had passed a bill allocating $600 million. Regardless, it seems there is a consensus that money needs to be spent on election security, and that a final negotiated bill between the chambers of Congress will improve security overall.
Getting the bill finalized and taking measures to improve election security is particularly important as security experts are expecting active acts of interference to be attempted in the 2020 election. Election security, however, won’t be the sort of thing that’s fixed with a one-time expenditure. Local election administrators will benefit from having a consistent partner in the federal government to protect our votes for years to come.
About the Author: Chris Mack
Chris is a Marketing Manager at Extract with experience in product development, data analysis, and both traditional and digital marketing. Chris received his bachelor’s degree in English from Bucknell University and has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame. A passionate marketer, Chris strives to make complex ideas more accessible to those around him in a compelling way.