There are several federal grant programs that can be used to improve security for election officials and elections offices. This page is intended to inform election officials about grant programs available through other federal agencies. For information about grants through the EAC, including HAVA Election Security Grants, go to https://www.eac.gov/payments-and-grants/grants-management-and-oversight.
The grant programs below make funding available to improve the security posture of election officials and their offices. More information about the different types of security improvements election officials can make to improve security can be found in the EAC’s 60-Second Security Series, a series of checklists with information about securing different elections assets and processes:
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DHS Preparedness Grants for Fiscal Year 2023
About DHS Preparedness Grants
In February, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that they will be providing over $2 billion in grant funding to help state, local, tribal, and territorial officials prepare for, prevent, protect against, and respond to acts of terrorism. DHS has identified six national priority areas in the FY 2023 grant cycle: cybersecurity; soft targets and crowded places; intelligence and information sharing; domestic violent extremism; community preparedness and resilience; and election security.
Note: The deadline for states to apply for this grant program was in May 2023. Election officials who are interested in seeking additional information should contact their Chief State Election Official or the State Administering Agency (SAA) for DHS Preparedness Grants. A full list of each SAA for this program can be found here. (The State Administering Agency for the DHS Preparedness Grants program may differ from the State Administering Agency for other federal grant programs.)
Minimum Spend Requirement
For FY 2023, DHS has added “Enhancing Election Security” as a National Priority Area for the Homeland Security Grant Program. As a National Priority Area, SAAs must allocate at least 3% of their total Homeland Security Preparedness Grants to election security. According to the Notice of Funding Opportunity:
At least one investment must be in support of the state’s and high-risk urban area’s efforts to enhance physical election security and/or cyber election security. Additionally, the proposed investment must meet or exceed the FY 2023 national priority percentage for election security and will also be subject to DHS/FEMA’s evaluation of the effectiveness of the proposed investments.
The SAA must include the State’s Chief Election Official for all projects and matters related to the election security National Priority Area. Any activities proposed that could be used to suppress voter registration or turnout will not be approved.
Use of Funds
In general, DHS Preparedness Grant Program funds may be used to provide additional personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, training, technical assistance, and information systems for emergency preparedness and response, including, but not limited to:
- Planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs for emergency management and response operations
- Communications capabilities for emergency management and response operations
- Cybersecurity measures to protect critical infrastructure, including election infrastructure
- Information sharing and collaboration between federal, state, and local partners
- Continuity of operations planning and implementation for state and local government operations, including election operations
Additional information about how DHS Preparedness Grant Program funds can be used, as well as information about the application process, can be found here.
Coordination with Local Emergency Management Agencies
Election officials are encouraged to communicate their security needs to their local emergency management agencies to determine if they can be met through available DHS Preparedness Grant Program funds. Some examples may include:
- Improving the physical security of the elections office through installing improved locks, cameras, and security systems
- Providing cybersecurity training for election officials and staff
- Acquiring and implementing software and hardware to secure election systems and databases
- Conducting exercises and training events to prepare for emergency scenarios and ensure continuity of election operations.
The DHS Preparedness Grant Program provides important resources for election security and continuity of government operations. State and local election officials are encouraged to work with their state's Emergency Management Agency to determine how they can access these funds and ensure the security and integrity of the electoral process.
Department of Justice Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne JAG)
About the Byrne JAG Program
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) established a task force to address ongoing threats of violence against election workers, administrators, officials, and volunteers. During the Task Force’s work, the DOJ received inquiries regarding grant programs to protect election workers and the voting process. On January 26, 2022, the DOJ issued guidance that funds from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne JAG) may be used to protect election workers from violence and criminal threats of violence. This document provides information about the program and how state and local election officials can access or seek more information about these resources.
Note: DOJ has suggested that anyone seeking to access funds should contact their State Administering Agency here for information about receiving funds through the Byrne JAG program. As of June 2023, FY 2023 grant information is not yet available.
Named after Edward “Eddie” R. Byrne, an officer in the New York City Police Department who was murdered while protecting a witness, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program is the leading federal source of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions, helping to fill gaps in state, territory, local, and tribal criminal justice systems. Broadly, Byrne JAG funds may be used to deter, detect, and protect against threats of violence against election workers, administrators, officials, and others associated with the electoral process.
In FY 2022, the Byrne JAG program awarded over $284 million to 56 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. Funds are awarded several months after Congress completes the annual funding bill. States and localities are allowed four years to spend the funds, though any awards less than $25,000 must be spent in two years. Recipients must file quarterly and semiannual reports, as well as semi-annual Federal Financial Reports depending on the amount of the award. No matching funds are required to receive Byrne JAG awards. Additional information about the grant program can be found from the DOJ and the National Criminal Justice Association.
Use of Funds
In general, Byrne JAG funds may be used to provide additional personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, training, technical assistance, and information systems for criminal justice, including, but not limited to:
- Law enforcement programs
- Prosecution and court programs
- Prevention and education programs
- Planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs
- Crime victim and witness programs (other than compensation)
States and units of local government may use award funds for broadband deployment and adoption activities as they relate to criminal justice activities.
Additional information about how Byrne JAG funds can be used, as well as information about the application process, can be found here: Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program Frequently Asked Questions.
Eligibility and Funding Opportunities
As required by law, funds are distributed by formula based on population and crime rate. Of the total amount allocated to each state, 60 percent is awarded to the State Administering Agency for distribution within the state. The remaining 40 percent is distributed by the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to local governments based on crime rate.
- Byrne JAG State Awards: Only states may apply through a State Administering Agency (SAA). DOJ recommends that state election officials contact their SAA to discuss funding opportunities.
- Byrne JAG Local Awards: Only local units of government on the JAG Allocations List may apply. “Units of local government” include a town, township, village, parish, city, county, borough, or other general-purpose political subdivision of a state, or it may be a federally recognized Indian tribal government that performs law enforcement functions (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior). If a local unit of government does not receive JAG funds (e.g., because they did not submit an application), or if they do not qualify due to population or crime rate requirements, local election officials should contact their state’s SAA to discuss funding opportunities.
State and Local JAG solicitations and allocations from FY 2021 can be found on the JAG webpage.
Coordination with Local Law Enforcement
Election officials are encouraged to communicate their security needs to their local law enforcement agencies to determine if they can be met through available Byrne JAG funds. Most local awards are relatively small. Among local governments that receive Byrne JAG funds directly, most received less than $30,000 in FY 2021. However, through communication and coordination, election officials may be able to work with law enforcement to secure funding for specific needs that Byrne JAG funds are well suited to support. Some examples may include:
- Improving the physical security of the elections office through installing improved locks, cameras, and security systems.
- Providing overtime compensation to sheriff’s deputies for extra patrols on and around Election Day.
- Covering additional costs associated with investigating threats to election officials or poll workers.
While election officials are not eligible to receive Byrne JAG funds directly, it is helpful to define a specific purpose for the use of Byrne JAG funds as well as an itemized budget. This will assist with coordinating the office’s needs with local law enforcement priorities, while also assisting the grant awardee with any state or federal grant reporting requirements.
State and local election officials should contact their State Administering Agencies with questions about accessing funding through the Byrne JAG program. Election officials are also encouraged to share information with the EAC about how they successfully used Byrne JAG funding or developed partnerships with their local law enforcement communities. Program details and best practices can be emailed to [email protected]. Additional information about election official security, including information regarding reporting threats to the FBI, can be found at https://www.eac.gov/election-officials/election-official-security.
CISA Election Security Services
About CISA Election Security Services
The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is an agency within the Department of Homeland Security that provides security services for critical infrastructure sectors including Election Administration. CISA provides a variety of services at no cost to state and local government officials and private sector partners.
These services include cybersecurity assessments, training exercises, and physical security assessments. A full list of available services can be found on CISA’s website.
CISA also has regional Protective Security Advisors that conduct security assessments in the field. For more information about field services provided by CISA for election infrastructure, contact your local CISA Regional Office.