About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

1 1 (July 8, 2022)

handle is hein.crs/goveijr0001 and id is 1 raw text is: ~' Congressional Research Service
Informing the Iegitive debate since 1914

Updated July 8, 2022

Election Security: Federal Funding for Securing Election

State and local systems were targeted as part of efforts to
interfere with the 2016 elections, according to the U.S.
intelligence community. Reports of those activities
highlighted the potential for threats to the technologies,
facilities, and processes used to administer elections.
Congress has responded to such threats, in part, by
providing and proposing funding to help secure elections.
This In Focus offers an overview of federal funding for
securing election systems. It starts with some background
on potential threats to state and local election systems and
then summarizes the funding Congress has provided and
proposed to help secure those systems.
Elections-related systems in all 50 states were likely
targeted in the 2016 election cycle, according to a July 2019
report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Some attempts to access state and local systems succeeded.
Foreign actors reportedly extracted data from the statewide
voter registration database in one state, for example, and
breached county systems in another.
Multiple techniques were used to target state and local
election systems in the 2016 cycle. Attackers tried to access
voter registration databases by entering malicious code in
the data fields of state or local websites, for example, and to
gain access to county systems by sending election officials
emails with malware attached.
Election systems may also be vulnerable to other types of
attack. Hacked election office websites or social media
accounts might be used to disseminate disinformation, for
example. Malware might be spread among non-internet-
connected voting machines, computer scientist J. Alex
Halderman has testified, in the course of programming the
machines with ballot designs. Individuals with access to
election storage facilities might tamper with ballot boxes.
Some threats to election systems may also be compounded
by the structure of U.S. election administration. States,
territories, and localities-which have primary
responsibility for conducting elections in the United
States-use different election equipment and processes and
have varying levels of access to security resources and
expertise. This decentralization may help guard against
large-scale, coordinated attacks, but it also offers potential
attackers multiple possible points of entry, some of which
may be less well defended than others.
Limited attacks on less well defended jurisdictions might
undermine voters' confidence in the legitimacy of the
election process or the winners it produces. In some cases,
some have suggested, such small-scale attacks might also
be capable of changing election outcomes.

Appropriated Funding
States, territories, and localities have primary responsibility
for ensuring that election systems are secure, but federal
agencies also play a role in helping identify and address
election system threats and vulnerabilities. Since the 2016
elections, Congress has provided election system security
funding both to states, territories, and the District of
Columbia (DC) and to federal agencies.
Funding for States, Territories, and DC
The consolidated appropriations acts for FY2018 (P.L. 115-
141), FY2020 (P.L. 116-93), and FY2022 (P.L. 117-103)
included $380 million, $425 million, and $75 million,
respectively, for payments to states, territories, and DC
under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA; 52
U.S.C. §§20901-21145). All three sets of payments were
available to the 50 states, DC, American Samoa, Guam,
Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the FY2020
and FY2022 funds were also available to the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
Funds for the payments were appropriated under provisions
of HAVA that authorize funding for certain general
improvements to election administration, which may
include security improvements. Explanatory statements
accompanying the FY2018 and FY2020 bills also explicitly
listed the following as acceptable uses of the funds:
 replacing paperless voting equipment,
 implementing postelection audits,
 addressing cyber vulnerabilities in election systems,
 providing election officials with cybersecurity training,
 instituting election system cybersecurity best practices,
 making other improvements to the security of federal
Each eligible recipient was guaranteed a minimum payment
under each appropriations bill, with some recipients eligible
for additional funds based on voting-age population (see
Table 1 for the total amount available to each eligible
recipient under all three bills). The 50 states, DC, and
Puerto Rico are required to provide a 5% match for the
FY2018 funding and a 20% match for the FY2020 and
FY2022 funds. All funding recipients are expected to
submit plans for use of the payments to the U.S. Election
Assistance Commission (EAC) and report on how they
spend their funds.
According to the EAC, which is charged with administering
the payments, eligible recipients had received all but $7,665
of the available FY2018 and FY2020 funding as of March

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most