After Congress passed funding to improve the election system last year, only 8 percent has been spent by states so far to improve their federal election system
. Out of nearly $380 million set aside in federal funds to update federal elections by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), just over $31 million has been spent by states.
All states are on track to spend the money in time to fortify the 2020 elections. The law passed and signed last March was the first new set of funding for updating federal elections in nearly a decade. More funding is needed beyond the $380 million allocated from the HAVA bill to more fully update all major election systems across entire states
The funds were made available on April 17, 2018 and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission tracked funding up till September 30, 2018. The spending is in line with what experts expect
from state officials, who only had 6 months to spend the funds before the midterm elections
. States must go through a series of lengthy investigations and reviews before they can upgrade equipment and make serious changes.
Nonetheless, states have so far spent most of the money on improving cybersecurity, with about 58 percent of funding going towards this issue. A third of spending went towards voting equipment. The most immediate interventions went towards training staff on cybersecurity practices, instituting new digital protections for staff accessing election systems, and more regularly updating software.