Governor Wolf Urges Congress to Fund Election Security Upgrades
July 30, 2018
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today sent a letter to Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation urging them to provide an additional $380 million in Election Assistance Commission (EAC) grants to support efforts by state and local governments to meet the highest standards of election preparedness and integrity.
“Citizens should and must be confident that our elections are secure and fair,” said Governor Wolf. “Congress has a responsibility to ensure that states have the resources to guarantee our voting infrastructure is protected from external threats.”
The governor added, “Congress should allocate additional funding to the states to protect the confidence and integrity of a foundation of our democracy – elections. This is a significant opportunity for all levels of government, federal, state and local, to work together to support our nation and its voting infrastructure.”
The Wolf administration has taken several steps to further strengthen election security. In April, the governor directed all counties to have voting systems that produce a paper record, so voters can verify their ballot by the 2020 election.
Earlier this month, Governor Wolf announced a new Inter-Agency Election Preparedness and Security Workgroup consisting of eight state agencies and offices that will collaborate on increasing security resources, training, support, information, and preparation at all levels of election administration.
Member agencies include the Department of State, the Office of Administration, the Governor’s Office, the Office of Homeland Security, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Office of State Inspector General and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
The commonwealth also works with the county boards of elections, the Pennsylvania National Guard, the Center for Internet Security and other key partners to maintain and enhance the security of Pennsylvania’s election process.
Pennsylvania uses a layered set of defenses, including continuous monitoring of its networks and technical environment, encryption and other tools to protect its voting systems, which are never connected to the internet nor permitted on internet-facing networks.
Letter to Pennsylvania’s Congressional Delegation
July 30, 2018
The Honorable Patrick Toomey
248 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington , DC 20510
Dear Senator Toomey:
In March of this year, Congress took an important initial step to help states secure their elections and replace their outdated voting systems by allocating $380 million in Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. That appropriation resulted in $13.5 million for Pennsylvania, which has already been earmarked for new voting systems, but that is only a fraction of what is needed.
In February, the PA Department of State issued a directive to all counties in the state that any newly purchased voting equipment must have a voter-verifiable paper record. Recognizing that new voting equipment is expensive, cost-sharing between federal, state, and local governments is necessary. I commend Congress for passing the initial $380 million in HAVA funds for states, but it should not be a one-time occurrence. Additional funding is required to safeguard the integrity our elections.
Citizens should and must be confident that our elections are secure and fair. Congress has a responsibility to ensure that states have the resources to guarantee our voting infrastructure is protected from external threats. That is why I am calling on Congress to once again appropriate $380 million to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) for grants to states for Fiscal Year 19. This funding is vital to helping states and our county partners plan and prepare for the significant costs required to replace old voting systems.
Congress should allocate additional funding to the states to protect the confidence and integrity of a foundation of our democracy – elections. This is a significant opportunity for all levels of government, federal, state and local, to work together to support our nation and its voting infrastructure.