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December 15, 2017

National Association of Secretaries of State Call on Congress to Provide Missing Funds Needed for Election Security

(WASHINGTON) - Today, the Congressional Task Force on Election Security, chaired by Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Robert Brady (D-Pa.) and Committee on Homeland Security Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) applauded the National Association of Secretaries of State’s call for Congress to provide the remaining $396 million in outstanding Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds to assist in updating and maintaining our nation’s aging election systems.

Russia’s unprecedented assault on the country’s elections in 2016, targeting 21 states’ voting systems, exposed the urgent need to protect these systems – which includes voting machines and voter registration databases. Currently, there is nearly $400 million remaining from the 2002 Help America Vote Act that can be used for this purpose.

In November, Brady and Thompson sent a letter to the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee to request fully appropriating the remaining HAVA funds to help states secure their voting infrastructure.

Congressman Brady and Congressman Thompson issues the following statement today:

“When a sovereign nation attempts to meddle in our elections, it is an attack on our country. We cannot leave states on their own to defend against the sophisticated tactics of state actors like Russia. As the National Association of Secretaries of State correctly stated, the money that states desperately need to take crucial security steps has already been authorized by Congress, is available, and can be appropriated right away.  It is time our colleagues in Congress recognize that ensuring the security of our election systems is a bipartisan issue.  With the next federal election less than a year away, Congress must act immediately.”

Although the election was over a year ago, federal election security action has been nonexistent. Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions admitted to Congress that he had “not followed through” to ensure that the 2018 elections are secure. According to the National Association of State Secretaries, providing the remaining funding under HAVA will help states enhance the efficiency and security of elections, including through the purchase of new voting systems, the implementation of additional cybersecurity tools, and the hiring of additional IT professionals.

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Media contacts:
(Brady) Peter Whippy at 202-225-3072
(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978