Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon issued the following statement about the responsibility of the Minnesota legislature to authorize use of millions of dollars in new funds for election security in the recently enacted 2020 federal budget.
“I’m encouraged by the commitment of Congress and the president for another round of election security funding,” said Simon. “It shows that the federal government is taking seriously the threats we face from outside forces who will try to undermine our democracy. Now, it’s time for our state legislature to do the same and commit to releasing these funds as soon as possible. We can’t afford the kind of pointless delay that we experienced with the last round of federal funding.”
Minnesota law requires the state legislature to authorize use of the federal funds. Minnesota’s share of the new funds will amount to $7.39 million.
Federal law requires a 20 percent match from the state, about $1.48 million, but the state can spend the funds before securing the match.
The last round of election security funding in the amount of $6.6 million, appropriated by the federal government in early 2018 but held up by the state legislature until mid-2019, required a 5 percent match.
“With Iran promising ongoing retaliation against the United States that could include cyber warfare, as well as other known intruders with the appetite to disrupt our democracy, we must act with every available resource to harden our systems,” explained Simon.
In concert with MN.IT Services, Secretary Simon recently held a briefing at the capitol to inform legislators about the current status of Minnesota’s election security.
“It is important that state policymakers understand the ongoing need for investment in our election systems, given the landscape of threats we face in 2020 and beyond,” Simon added.
The Secretary of State’s partnership with the local governments that carry out Minnesota’s elections will be a special focus of ongoing investment.
Simon’s office intends to devote a significant amount of the 2020 security funds in grants to counties and cities in need of enhancing technology and improving election security and accessibility.