Election Security: Funding & Research

Press Release
Date of Release or Mention: 
Friday, July 20, 2018
Our Voting Rights and Election Laws Issue Chair Cinde Weatherby drafted the following letter encouraging Texas county officials to be proactive in addressing election security. We wrote the letter last week and it went out on Monday to Texas county judges, county commissioners and county elections officials. We shared this with League presidents, but with all of the discussion about securing elections in the news this week, I realized that you might be interested in this also.
Have a look at the key suggestions the League is making and the resources we provided to the county officials. Check in with your county officials and see what they plan to do to keep your vote safe!
In League,
Grace Chimene
Thank you for your commitment to assure citizens in your county that their votes are safe! The League of Women Voters of Texas shares your commitment to empowering voters and defending democracy.
Election security is the single most important election issue facing Texas counties today. It is a complicated subject, but the highest priorities include:
  • Using voting equipment that produces a voter-verified paper record;
  • Implementing post-election audits;
  • Verifying that election-related computer systems address cybersecurity vulnerabilities; and
  • Providing ongoing cybersecurity training.
The materials linked below provide detailed background information to protect voting systems from intrusion that can assure Texans their votes are accurately counted:
  1. An overview of Texas Election Security Key Points;
  2. Column from Rice University Professor Dan S. Wallach that appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and
  3. Letter to the Texas SOS from Professor Wallach and other Texas computer security experts detailing the priorities we mention above.
To address reported foreign interference in the 2016 elections, the 2018 Omnibus Budget Bill appropriated $380 million to improve election security. The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) manages the state grant program in accordance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The Texas Secretary of State (SOS) has already received the Texas allocation of $23.3 million and will be rolling out a cybersecurity program very soon. The SOS will use some of the funds to better secure the voting data maintained by his office. We understand that the SOS will offer election security reviews and safety equipment to each county. While this limited amount of EAC funding is not enough to address a complete voting equipment overhaul, please take full advantage of the cybersecurity review and safety equipment assistance offered by the SOS.
In the 2019 Legislative Session, we will join you in advocating for additional funds to support election equipment acquisitions.
A considerable number of counties are moving forward to address this topic right now. If your county has not yet acquired fully auditable election equipment, we urge it be a priority consideration. Some county elections officials have already recommended new equipment that offers a paper trail. Thank you, if your county has recently acquired election equipment that offers a paper record which is required for effective auditing of voting records.
Texas has an abundance of computer and election security experts who stand ready to assist you in implementing these priorities. The League's Voting Rights/Election Law Chair, Cinde Weatherby has contacts with organizations in Texas and elsewhere with resources available for your use. Please call upon us if you have questions or concerns, or believe we can support you in any way. You can reach Ms. Weatherby at cindeweatherby [at] gmail.com or 512.560.1334.
We look forward to working with you to ensure that every Texas county has what it needs to provide secure, verifiable elections.
Grace Chimene
League of Women Voters of Texas
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