States beg Congress for more election security funds

The secretaries of state for Connecticut and Louisiana on Thursday called on Congress to appropriate more funding to boost election security heading into 2020.

Speaking at a forum hosted by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R) and Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill (D) said additional federal funding is the best way Congress can help states shore up election security and ward off cyberattacks.

“Resources are always helpful and necessary,” Ardoin said. “We all have the same expectation, which is a secure environment for our elections, and that every vote is accurately counted and everybody gets to participate who wishes to participate.”

He added that secretaries of state are “constantly asking for additional resources to fend off cybersecurity issues, to update equipment, and to do what is necessary to secure our elections and offer our people the right to vote.”

Congress appropriated $380 million to the EAC last year to distribute to states ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The funding came two years after Russia’s efforts to interfere in the presidential election.

Democrats have pushed for more state money, but Republicans have argued that Congress should respect state jurisdiction over elections, while noting that not all of the $380 million has been spent.