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We Can Do Better Than Duct-Taping Voting Machines Together


We Can Do Better Than Duct-Taping Voting Machines Together

Election infrastructure is critical national security infrastructure—we just don’t fund it that way.

In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated election infrastructure as “part of the existing Government Facilities critical infrastructure sector.” DHS noted that election infrastructure “is vital to our national interests, and cyberattacks on this country are becoming more sophisticated, and bad cyber actors—ranging from nation-states, cybercriminals and hacktivists—are becoming more sophisticated and dangerous.”

Unfortunately, public funding for election administration has been inconsistent, and when it actually does come, it’s been insufficient.

Only three times since 2010 has Congress appropriated funding that included local election departments: In 2018 and 2020, Congress appropriated $380 million and $425 million respectively in Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Election Security Funds. It also allocated an additional $400 million in emergency 2020 election support funding through the CARES Act.

The latest consideration is the modernization of the Electoral Count Act, which is more than a century old.

The Act has been criticized since its passing for being arcane, complex, and vague—and for allowing Congress to object to Electoral College results submitted by states.

The technology we use to count votes is different now than it was in 1887, but one thing that hasn’t changed is that local election departments still need resources to run safe, inclusive, and secure elections. And that requires Congress.

Between the bipartisan efforts to reform the Electoral Count Act and Democratic efforts to protect the right to vote, now is the perfect time to invest in resources for local elections to run securely. Such investments would protect local election autonomy and integrity—providing more resources to invest in what voters need while also complying with existing federal laws like the Voting Rights Act—and provide an opportunity for everyone to exercise their civic duty without unnecessary complications.

We know firsthand how much a lack of stable public funding can make life…

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