House Approps Slates $600M in Budget Draft for Voting Systems

elections, election security, voting

The House Appropriations Committee’s Financial Services and General Government fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget draft includes $600 million to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to aid states in modernizing election systems and administering Federal elections.

The draft bill of the budget, which will be considered in subcommittee today, totals at $24.55 billion and is a $1.4 billion increase from FY2019. A House Appropriations press release said that ensuring “the integrity of Federal elections” was, among other reasons, a cause to add on to last fiscal year’s budget.

The draft bill mandated that EAC distribute the $600 million to the states no later than 45 days after the budget is passed and that states use the allocation to replace their old voting machines and systems with modernized and authorized options.

“A State shall not use [the] payment to replace voting systems which use direct-recording electronic voting machines with a voting system which uses an individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballot which is marked by the voter by hand or through the use of a non-tabulating ballot marking device or system,” the bill said.

The House’s bill prioritized funding to replace states’ voting systems before other election administration matters, adding that a state can use its allocated budget “to carry out other authorized activities to improve the administration of election for Federal office only if the State certifies to [EAC] that the State has replaced all voting systems which use direct-recording electronic voting machines with qualified voting systems.”

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Chairman Mike Quigley said that the focused funding toward election technology will not only replace antiquated voting machines but provide states with new systems that will ensure secure elections.

“As a critical component of our national security, this bill also helps to fortify our election infrastructure against foreign interference by providing states with funding to replace outdated voting machines and enhance their cybersecurity defenses,” Quigley said.

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