How We Won $425 Million in Election Security Funding

After months of debate and incremental movement, the House and the Senate finally came to an agreement to help safeguard our democracy and allocated $425 million in state-based election security funding — ensuring additional protection for ballots cast in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

Our work to protect our democracy is far from over, but this is a big win, thanks in great part to our grassroots campaign, which made over 120,000 calls to Congress demanding action.

Since the 2016 presidential election, multiple reports from Congress, the U.S. intelligence community, and progressive organizations confirmed that Russia hacked our election systems in all 50 states and is continuing to attack our democracy. There is also overwhelming evidence that other hostile foreign powers, like China and Iran, have plans to interfere in the 2020 election. In response to these threats, in June 2019, the House of Representatives passed a bill allocating funding for states to enhance election security. 

However, the funding continuously hit a huge roadblock: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. For months, McConnell blocked every attempt to pass election security funding, instead passing short-term spending bills that didn’t include a single cent to safeguard our democracy. 

But thanks to our grassroots pressure, McConnell and Senate Republicans finally gave in and allowed $425 million in election security funding to pass. It’s funding that state and local election administrators have desperately requested. They can now replace outdated equipment with systems that use voter-verified paper ballots and perform post-election audits. Creating a paper trail is one of the most effective ways to prevent cyberattacks from affecting vote counts, giving election administrators the opportunity to confirm individual votes. We now have a fighting chance to keep hostile foreign powers from even more aggressively interfering in our elections.

Throughout this fight, the Stand Up America community made over 120,000 calls, wrote letters to the editor, visited lawmakers’ offices, and sent thousands of emails and tweets, urging elected officials to prioritize this funding. And our campaign succeeded: Mitch McConnell finally relented.

Securing this funding is yet another example of our power as grassroots activists. We stood up to protect the foundation of our democracy — free and fair elections — and won.