Two Democrats leading the Election Security Task Force have asked the House Appropriations Committee to carve out $400 million that is “desperately needed” to help states secure election systems and modernize their voting technology.
“We know that Russia launched an unprecedented assault on our elections in 2016, targeting 21 states' voting systems, and we believe this money is necessary to protect our elections from future attack,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pa., wrote in a letter to the committee, noting that election meddling by a nation-state is akin to an attack on the U.S. “We cannot leave states to defend against the sophisticated cyber tactics of state actors like Russia on their own.”
The duo asked the committee to apply the balance left from the 2002 Help America Vote Act to state election systems security and upgrades.
Some of the current machines used “rely on operating systems like Windows XP or Windows 2000 which pose a particularly security risk as those systems either do not receive regular security patches or have stopped receiving support altogether,” the lawmakers wrote, adding that state voter registration databases were also at risk.
Election security has risen in urgency since the intelligence community found that Russia had interfered with the 2016 presidential election. Monday the Defending Digital Democracy Project (D3P) Monday released its first edition of "The Cybersecurity Campaign Playbook," a guide to help election campaign operatives – even those without technical backgrounds – protect their candidates from hacker interference.