The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee called for the Senate to pass more election funding, joining calls from state officials across the country who have asked for more funding to secure November’s election.
“We need to provide resources to state and local election officials to secure their systems before the November election,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the committee’s chairman, in a statement on Tuesday. “I urge the Senate to include election security provisions within the House-passed HEROES Act and more election funding in the next COVID package.”
The HEROES Act passed by the House in May includes $3.6 billion in election security funding. The bill has not been passed by the Senate. Earlier this week, a group of over 30 former Federal government officials called for more election security funding in a letter to congressional leadership.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) “has conducted vulnerability assessments of election infrastructure across the country and has identified the need for increased cyber hygiene and IT upgrades essential to conducting a safe election,” Rep. Thompson said. “But election officials face budget cuts after conducting costly primary elections in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A bipartisan group of over 100 local election officials called for more Federal funding in a letter earlier this year. States, too, are seeking more resources.
“Our FY21 budget is not sufficient to conduct the November 3 election,” the Administrator for Maryland State Board of Elections Linda Lamone told state officials in a July 20 letter. Lamone asked for an additional $20 million election funding, over half of which is related to mail-in ballots.
State and local governments need an estimated $4 billion to secure elections, said Wendy Weiser, director of the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, in June at an event hosted by the House Committee on Homeland Security. Weiser said ballot printing orders for mail-in-voting should be made in June, and no later than July.