States Receive Government Funding to Upgrade Security on Voting Technology

The U.S. government has allocated $380 million for security upgrades on states’ voting technology.

The funding was included in the massive appropriations bill approved by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump last week.

The funding is considered to represent a bipartisan effort by lawmakers in Washington to protect upcoming elections from cyber threats, following Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has specified the exact amount allocated to each state, according to a list posted late this week. California will receive the most with roughly $35 million, next is Texas with $23 million and New York with $19 million.

States can use the funds to make technology and election security improvements in order to secure their voting infrastructure.

According to The Hill, Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos said that his state may invest in additional penetration testing and implement two-factor authentication for town clerks who access portions of the voter registration database. The state of Vermont will receive $3 million of the election security funds, according to the EAC.

“We will look at how we can ramp up even more security,” Condos said. “We’ll look at maybe beefing up our firewalls.”

At the moment five states are completely using electronic voting machines while other states use both paper and computers, depending on the local.

Meanwhile, states also receive election security help from Homeland Security, which designated voting systems as critical infrastructure in early 2017.

The Hill reported that the department is offering remote cyber hygiene tests as well as more rigorous on-site vulnerability tests to states that request them. The department is also working to share sensitive threat information with state election officials.


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