March 22, 2018

Harris, Bipartisan Senate Colleagues Announce Funding For Election Security

Funding was First Proposed in the Secure Elections Act

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris and a bipartisan group of senate colleagues last night announced the inclusion of election security funding in the Omnibus Appropriations bill to be voted on this week. The bill includes $380 million for states to make election security improvements, implement cybersecurity guidelines, and replace outdated electronic voting machines. This funding was first proposed in the Secure Elections Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Harris in December to protect against foreign interference in future elections. 

“The urgency to secure our elections is clear,” said Harris. “The 2018 midterm elections are already upon us, and we must assume that Russia will continue its attacks on the very heart of our democracy. We fought hard and funding is a critical first step to providing states with the resources to begin securing their election infrastructure. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure Congress continues these efforts by passing the Secure Elections Act.”

“Safeguarding the integrity of our elections process will require the ongoing commitment and vigilance of the federal, state and local governments and our public and private partner institutions,” said Vermont Secretary of State and National Association of Secretaries of State President-elect Jim Condos. “We must collaboratively work to guarantee secure elections, thus restoring voter confidence in our systems and in our democracy. I want to thank Congress on behalf of all Secretaries of State and all Americans for enabling us to acquire additional tools to ensure election integrity. Nothing could be more important.” 

On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee unveiled Committee recommendations to secure America’s election infrastructure. In it, the Committee recommended that Congress urgently pass legislation to increase assistance and establish a voluntary grant program for the states to improve cybersecurity by hiring additional Information Technology staff, updating software, and contracting vendors to provide cybersecurity services, among other steps. The Committee also recommended funding to help defray the costs of instituting audits. The recommendations from the Senate Intelligence Committee mirror those in the Secure Elections Act.  

In addition to Harris, the original co-sponsors of the Secure Elections Act are U.S. Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).