With the passage of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, Washington will receive an estimated $7.9 million to enhance cybersecurity controls and replace an aging voting infrastructure.
States must provide a 5% match within two years. For Washington, this amounts to just under $400,000, bringing the total earmarked for elections modernization and security upgrades to over $8.3 million.
Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer, says the funding is indicative of the federal government’s priority to bolster protection against election interference.
“I’m very excited to learn that Congress has fulfilled the last of the commitments made when it passed the Help America Vote Act,” said Wyman. “With this funding, we’ll be able to bring new resources and technology together to improve our ongoing cybersecurity efforts. We’ll be working with our county elections officials to identify key areas that will benefit from this allocation and ultimately make the elections system here in Washington even stronger than it already is.”
The funding will be provided via a grant from the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC). Washington should receive the award letter by April 6. The EAC has served as the distribution entity since Congress passed the Help America Vote Act in 2002. That bill appropriated $3.9 billion to states for elections-related upgrades, from which Washington received about $70 million.
The state has 90 days to provide the EAC with a proposed plan regarding utilization of the funding and how it will continue improving the integrity of the elections process.
Washington’s Office of Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, as well as documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington.