As the 2020 election cycle revs up in preparation for Americans to cast their presidential vote in November, election security should be the nation’s top priority in order to maintain a valid democratic process.
The Mueller report revealed that a server in at least one Florida county was breached during the 2016 election, according to the Associated Press.
Following the reports of election hacking, little else was revealed to the public concerning the incidents, but the concept of election security became a primary concern for voters.
In response, national intelligence and security agencies released a joint statement Nov. 5 concerning efforts to protect the electoral process, promising to coordinate efforts and increase transparency about suspicious activity. However, funding is also necessary to repair and secure electronic election systems and ensure that local elections are progressing the way they should.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., approved legislation in September to provide $250 million to the federal government and the states to fund electoral security procedures, but the funding equals less than half of what the House of Representatives proposed in June.
The Brennan Center for Justice argues that the states should take election security into their own hands, considering the infrastructure and support staff that is needed to repair and maintain equipment and cyber security measures for electronic election machines. Furthermore, cyber security experts should be staffed at election sites that operate electronically.
Though intel officials have committed to coordinating efforts nationally, the plans to ensure security remain vague and incomplete. Funding also needs to be directed solely toward election security efforts, as opposed to the 90% of $380 million which Congress currently provides to states.
If the federal government cannot commit to ensuring elections are protected, with a clear plan for infrastructure and experienced staff; then grass roots efforts must work to compensate. State and local polling locations must advocate for voting security in the coming months and voters must report any suspicious activity to ensure that the democratic process proceeds without impediment.