Today, Issue One and the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund released a new report that outlines thirteen steps the federal government and state legislatures should take to make our elections stronger and more secure going into 2024. Securing 2024: Defending US Elections through Investment and Reform is anchored by key recommendations that have had strong bipartisan support in recent years.
Nearly all of the proposals included in the report connect to the persistent lack of sufficient federal funding for local and state election administration. Our election infrastructure is chronically underfunded, which forces many elections officials across the country to face difficult budgetary decisions when administering their elections. Ensuring robust annual appropriations for election funding is a critical step to help state and local election officials meet basic modernization, staffing, and security needs, as well as implement many of the other reforms detailed in the report.
“The demands and expectations facing election officials have increased exponentially in recent years,” said David Levine, report co-author and Elections Integrity Fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at GMF. “Federal and state legislators have an opportunity right now to ensure that ongoing challenges – from cyber threats and disinformation to the pace at which we count ballots – don’t undermine elections in 2024 and beyond. Republicans and Democrats must show a united front and deliver much-needed funding to keep our elections safe and fair.”
Congress took an important step at the end of last year by passing a bipartisan update to the Electoral Count Act, closing a loophole governing how Congress counts electoral votes in presidential elections. This success is an indicator that there is bipartisan agreement that improving the security of our elections before 2024 is essential, and it offers a roadmap for future reforms that will secure our democracy.
“Election officials ensured that the 2022 midterm elections were a success, but it’s time that our federal and state leaders step up, take action, and deliver the proper funds and resources these officials need to do their job safely and effectively,” said Issue One’s Legislative Manager and report co-author Gideon Cohn-Postar. “It’s vital that Republicans and Democrats work together now to strengthen the security and accessibility of our elections before the 2024 cycle.”
In addition to regular, sufficient federal funding for elections, other key recommendations from the report include:
- Giving election officials more federal resources to counter cyber threats, including those from foreign adversaries;
- Criminalizing threats or attacks against election workers;
- Enacting privacy protections for election workers by prohibiting doxxing and giving at-risk individuals the ability to remove personal information from public information requests and searches; and
- Improving election officials’ ability to counter election-related disinformation, including on social media platforms.
Issue: Free & Fair Elections