- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Most adults surveyed on the subject of election security said that Congress should provide more funding for states to upgrade their voting systems, a survey found Tuesday.

Roughly six in 10 adults believe the federal government should allocate more resources toward protecting the U.S. electoral process, according to the results of the poll.

Fifty-eight percent of people polled said the U.S. government should give states more money to upgrade the security of their election equipment, and 60% said the feds should also provide additional technical expertise, the results revealed.

Fewer than one in five respondents answered they were opposed to the federal government offering states additional money or technical expertise, and roughly a quarter said they were unsure about either.

The findings stem from an online survey of 2,000 adults undertaken earlier this month by researchers at the Brookings Institution led by Darrell M. West, the think tank’s vice president of governance studies and director of its Center for Technology Innovation, in the face of mounting concerns over the security of next year’s presidential election.

Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies have assessed that Russia meddled in the previous White House race in part by attempting to hack voting systems across the country, and senior members of President Trump’s administration have warned that the 2020 elections risk similarly being attacked.

Thirty-four percent of people polled by Brookings said that foreign campaign interference remains “very much” a threat, 23% described it as “somewhat” of a threat and 26% said it was “not very much” of a threat.

Nearly half of respondents — 47% — said they were either somewhat or very worried about the 2020 elections being attacked, the poll found.

“In spite of the varying opinions about the foreign threat, many Americans want Congress to take meaningful action,” Mr. West said.

Congress authorized $380 million last year for states to put toward securing their election systems, and legislation pending on Capitol Hill would allocate additional resources if passed.

Several election security bills being considered in Congress have remained in limbo in the face of opposition from Republican leadership in the Senate, however.

Congress will certainly continue to monitor this closely, while resisting any efforts to use the failures of the past to justify sweeping federalizations of election law, as some on the other side have consistently sought to do,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said last month.

An analysis undertaken by a bipartisan group of organizations and released last month by The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University concluded that states require more than the $380 million allocated by Congress last year to secure their election systems and remain “ill-equipped” to defend against foreign interference in 2020.

More recently, the results of a separate survey released last week found that three in five adults support increasing federal income taxes to raise money for defending against cyberattacks.

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