WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of former U.S. lawmakers on the National Council on Election Integrity called on Congress on Friday to spend $400 million on election integrity to insulate the system from foreign interference.
“The Department of Homeland Security designated our election system as critical infrastructure in 2017,” the four wrote in a letter. “However, that designation was not accompanied by regular or adequate federal funding.”
“In each of the last two years, Congress appropriated just $75 million for Election Security Grants — a fraction of the funds needed to secure our elections in this dynamic threat environment,” they added.
The co-chairs of the council — former Virginia Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock, former Maryland Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards, former Indiana Democratic Rep. Tim Roemer and former Tennessee Republican Rep. Zach Wamp — wrote in the letter they are “deeply concerned that election officials are currently not receiving the federal support that they need to strengthen and secure federal elections in 2024 and beyond.”
The National Council on Election Integrity, which began ahead of the 2020 presidential elections, includes about 40 civic and political leaders focused on “defending the legitimacy of our free and fair elections,” according to its website.
Congress’ annual government funding process began earlier this month when President Joe Biden sent his budget request for fiscal 2024 to Capitol Hill.
Lawmakers on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will spend the next few months holding hearings on the proposal with Cabinet secretaries and agency heads before they turn to writing the dozen annual government funding measures this summer.
Election security grants are just one request among thousands that Democrats and Republicans will weigh throughout the year as the House GOP looks for ways to reduce federal spending without significantly impacting Social Security, Medicare or defense programs. Read more