Charleston, W. Va. – West Virginia could soon receive an additional federal grant of $4 million to continue necessary upgrades to county election security upon passage of the 2020 appropriations bill, with the support of the state’s congressional delegation. Additionally, under the leadership of WV Senator Shelley Moore Capito, who serves as chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee, the bill secures necessary funding to the Department of Homeland Security for election cybersecurity and physical security of state and local election systems.
WV Secretary of State Mac Warner said his staff has worked closely with Senator Capito and the entire congressional delegation to secure additional federal funding that will help states address election security and upgrade voting equipment as each deems appropriate under Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) guidelines. West Virginia's portion of the funding is part of $425 million in HAVA-approved grants to all 50 states and territories across the nation, which was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 (H.R. 1158). The Senate passed the bill on Thursday and it is expected to be signed by the President soon.
“The working relationship we have with Senator Capito and our congressional delegation is making a real impact on our ability to enhance election security throughout West Virginia,” Warner said. “HAVA funding is critically important to our overall effort to address election cybersecurity. Our team will immediately go to work with our 55 county clerks to identify their greatest needs and to encourage application to the matching grant program.”
Warner also complimented the West Virginia legislature for taking proactive measures to expedite the distribution of election grants to local election officials. He said that before the congressionally-appropriated funds leading into the 2018 midterm elections, the legislature passed bipartisan legislation allowing the Secretary of State’s Office to create a Grant & Loan Board to evaluate incoming HAVA funds requests. The efforts of the Board resulted in leveraging $6.5 million of federal funds to more than $12 million in purchasing power in technology and cybersecurity programming throughout West Virginia over the past three years.
According to Warner, the latest round of federal funding could be available as early as mid-February.