Cooper: Omnibus Bill Releases Additional $7.5 Million to Protect Elections in Tennessee
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today received confirmation that the omnibus funding bill recently passed by Congress releases $7.5 million in fresh funding for election security in Tennessee.
The federal Election Assistance Commission sent a letter to Rep. Cooper that says each state will receive grant notifications by Friday. Tennessee will be expected to supplement its new federal grants with a 5 percent match of about $378,000.
Via the Help America Vote Act, federal officials have said Tennessee already has $28 million that can be used to safeguard its election systems.
“The Election Assistance Commission is giving Tennessee an additional $7.5 million,” Rep. Cooper said. “That means our state will have nearly $36 million to improve our election infrastructure and secure our votes. America’s intelligence chiefs say our systems are vulnerable, but Tennessee officials don’t seem to care.”
The letter states that the grant money can be used to secure Tennessee elections in several important ways:
- Replace voting equipment that only records a voter’s intent electronically with equipment that utilizes a voter-verified paper record;
- Implement a post-election audit system that provides a high level of confidence in the accuracy of the final vote tally;
- Upgrade election-related computer systems to address cyber vulnerabilities identified through the Department of Homeland Security or similar scans or assessments of existing election systems; and
- Facilitate cybersecurity training for state and local election officials.
Rep. Cooper previously sounded a statewide alarm when former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats – all conservatives – voiced concern that America is vulnerable to Russian hacking in the upcoming November elections.
American intelligence agencies already agree the Russians meddled in the 2016 presidential election.