- Associated Press - Thursday, September 13, 2018

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas plans to spend more than $4.6 million on election security grants over the next five years as it aims to tighten cyber security, modernize voting equipment, audit election results and safeguard voter rolls, according to a report released Thursday.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission released the Kansas plan for its share of the $380 million allocated by Congress to strengthen voting systems amid ongoing threats from Russia and others. Nearly all the other states had released plans for their election security grants last month, but Kansas had gotten an extension to turn in its report.

Kansas has already received the more than $4.34 million that it sought from the federal government under the program, and the state kicked in about $219,000 in matching funds.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told the federal commission in a letter that about half of its grant would be spent to increase and supplement its cyber security efforts at all levels of election administration. He said the state will supplement existing staff with security experts who are outside of state or local government.

Funds would also be made available to local governments to upgrade and supplement security and train county election personnel, Kobach wrote.

Nearly $1.07 million has been budgeted to ensure every voting machine in Kansas has a verifiable paper audit trail, according to the budget breakdown. The majority of counties in the state already have a paper-based system, Kobach said.

The state also slated more than $733,000 to improve security of the statewide voter registration system.

Beginning in January, Kansas will conduct post-election audits after every election. Its plan set aside $450,000 to implement the new auditing procedures at state and county levels.

The remaining funds would be used to create and train election officials to better communicate with the voting public and media as well as other government agencies.

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