The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 authorizes and appropriates the federal funds, titled “Election Security Grants” in the Act, and provides $425,000,000 to the Election Assistance Commission “to make payments to states for activities to improve the administration of elections for Federal office, including to enhance election technology and make election security improvements, as authorized under sections 101, 103, and 104 of [HAVA].”
The accompanying Congressional joint explanatory statement states, “Consistent with the requirements of HAVA, states may use this funding to: replace voting equipment
that only records a voter's intent electronically with equipment that utilizes a voter-verified paper record; implement a post-election audit system that provides a high-level of confidence in the accuracy of the final vote tally; upgrade election-related computer systems to address cyber vulnerabilities identified through [Department of Homeland Security] or similar scans or assessments of existing election systems; facilitate cybersecurity training for the state chief election official's office and local election officials; implement established cybersecurity best practices for election systems; and fund other activities that will improve the security of elections for Federal office.”
Consistent with provisions in HAVA Section 101, states have discretion upon expenditures within general categories. The use categories described in the Congressional joint explanatory statement are consistent with aspects of Section 101(b)(1)(A), (B), (D), and (F), among other potential uses. The EAC can answer specific questions about how the money may be utilized, and will be capturing questions from states and sharing the answers in updated versions of this FAQ document.