The US will invest $380 million on implementing a more secure voting system over the next few years, in a funding bill that will provide assistance to states to better secure their voting systems.
Earlier this week, the Senate intelligence Committee demanded more money from the government to improve security defences for elections.
Richard Burr, chairman of the Committee, confirmed the plans during a congressional hearing on yesterday. Politicians quizzed Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and ex-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson about the need for increased spending on federal security.
During the meeting, members of congress explored ways that the federal government can help states and public agencies improve their cyber security strategies.
Nineteen states have so far asked for new vulnerability systems and that 15 have received support from the DHS
They said it is crucial that state governments implement the latest technologies to fight state-sponsored election meddling. In particular, these new systems will be aimed at deterring Russian hackers.
While the general consensus is that the meeting was productive, Senator Susan Collins slammed the Department of Homeland Security for not improving security earlier.
Nielsen defended the department's stance on the situation, saying that it was acting with urgency to help states tap into new security technologies. However, the DHS has had to obtain clearances.
He claimed that 19 states have so far asked for new vulnerability systems and that 15 have received support from the DHS. He explained that the department will support states on the election day as well.
"Not only is this of extreme urgency to the department, but … we are prioritising election efforts and risk and vulnerability assessments for our state and local partners over all other critical infrastructure sectors," he said.
Meanwhile, Senator Ron Wyden told his peers that states lack the finances and technical infrastructure to fend off foreign state-backed cyber attacks.
He urged: "Our country needs baseline, mandatory, federal election security standards and what I'm talking about here are paper ballots and post-election, risk-limiting audits."
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