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Congressional Research Service
Informing the Iegislative debate since 1914

Updated May  8, 2023

Election Security: Federal Funding for Securing Election


Foreign efforts to interfere in the 2016 elections highlighted
the potential for threats to the technologies, facilities, and
processes used to administer elections. The federal
government  has responded to such threats, in part, by
proposing and providing funding that can be used to help
secure election systems.
This In Focus offers an overview of federal funding for
election system security. It starts by describing funding
Congress and federal agencies have made available since
the 2016 elections for securing election technologies,
facilities, and processes. It then summarizes legislative
proposals to authorize or appropriate further funding.
The In Focus does not cover funding for addressing threats
to election workers or the health and safety risks to voters
and election officials posed by the Coronavirus Disease
2019 (COVID-19)   pandemic. For more on federal funding
proposed or provided for those purposes, see CRS Insight
IN11831, Election Worker Safety and Privacy, by Sarah J.
Eckman  and Karen L. Shanton; and CRS Report R46646,
Election Administration: Federal Grant Funding for States
and Localities, by Karen L. Shanton.

Federal Funding
States, territories, and localities have primary responsibility
for securing elections, but federal agencies also play a role
in helping identify and address election system threats and
vulnerabilities. Since the 2016 elections, Congress has
provided funding that can be used to help secure election
systems both to states, territories, and the District of
Columbia  (DC) and to federal agencies. Agencies have also
designated some of the funding they have received for more
general purposes for activities related to election system

Funding  for States, Territories, and DC
The Help America  Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA;  P.L. 107-
252) established a grant program for making certain general
improvements  to election administration. Congress has
included funding for that grant program in multiple regular
appropriations acts since the 2016 elections: $380 million,
$425 million, $75 million, and $75 million, respectively, in
the consolidated appropriations acts for FY2018 (P.L. 115-
141), FY2020  (P.L. 116-93), FY2022 (P.L. 117-103), and
FY2023  (P.L. 117-328). All four rounds of funding were
available to the 50 states, DC, American Samoa, Guam,
Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the FY2020,
FY2022,  and FY2023  funds were also available to the
Commonwealth   of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
The appropriations acts made the HAVA funding broadly
available for general improvements to the administration of
federal elections, including improvements to election

technology and security. Explanatory statements
accompanying  the FY2018 and FY2020  acts also explicitly
listed the following as permissible uses of the funds:
*  replacing paperless voting equipment,
*  implementing post-election 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 amount
under each of the above appropriations acts, with some
entitled to additional funds based on voting-age population
(see Table 1 for the total amount available to each eligible
recipient under all four acts). The 50 states, DC, and Puerto
Rico have been required to provide a 5% match for the
FY2018  funding and a 20% match for the FY2020,
FY2022,  and FY2023  funds. All recipients have also been
expected to submit plans for use of the funding to the U.S.
Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and report to the
agency on their spending.
According to the EAC, which is charged with administering
the funds, just over $874 million of the $880 million
available for FY2018, FY2020, and FY2022 had been
distributed to the states, territories, and DC as of March 15,
2023. Spending plans and budgets for the FY2023 funds
were due to the agency on February 28, 2023.
In addition to the HAVA funding Congress designated
specifically for elections activities, some funding has also
been available for securing election systems under more
general purpose grant programs. The U.S. Department of
Homeland  Security (DHS) has encouraged recipients of its
State and Local Cybersecurity Grants to include election
officials on their Cybersecurity Planning Committees, for
example, and required FY2023 State Homeland Security
Program  and Urban Area Security Initiative grantees to
allocate a share of their funds to enhancing election
security. For more on some of those grant programs, see
CRS  Report R44669, Department  of Homeland Security
Preparedness Grants: A Summary  and Issues, by Shawn

Funding  for Federal  Agencies
Various federal agencies play a role in helping secure
election systems. The EAC is dedicated to election
administration, for example, and DHS's Cybersecurity and
Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has taken on new

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