Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the top Democrat on the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, led a successful effort to include $425 million in funding for election security grants to help states protect their election systems in the fiscal 2020 federal funding bill poised to pass Congress and become law in the coming days, his office announced Dec. 16.
“We know that foreign adversaries are actively planning to attack our elections once again in 2020, so we have to make investments now in updated voting systems that the American people can trust and rely on,” said Coons. “As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I’ve been fighting for years to ensure that the federal government provides states with the funding they need to replace outdated election machinery and invest in cybersecurity. This is a responsible investment, and I’m pleased that, on a bipartisan basis, we were able to come to this agreement.”
Coons also led the successful effort to include $380 million in funding for election security grants in the fiscal 2018 federal funding bill.
Recently, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a report that outlined Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and target our nation’s election infrastructure in all 50 states, conducting reconnaissance, probing and mapping systems and looking for vulnerabilities to exploit. According to the report, the Russian government was able to gain access to election systems in two states, including successfully accessing and extracting up to 200,000 voter registration records in Illinois.