State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: Help America Vote Act (HAVA)

The Lone Star State: Hardly Alone in Election Administration Issues

By: Shawn Syed

Election administration is complex, to say the least. Decentralization, low funding, and a myriad of other issues play a role in the problems of administrating our elections. Every single state is sure to encounter some form of administration problem during election season. Texas is not alone in facing these issues. Below are just a few different issues Texas encountered leading up to and during the 2018 midterm elections.

The State of Texas received more than $23 million from the federal government in 2018 for a sole purpose: enhancing election security. This money comes thanks to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). HAVA’s stated purpose is to establish a program to provide funds to states to help the security and administration of elections. According to the Texas Secretary of State’s office, only a portion of the $23 million had been used prior to the midterm election. A new monitoring tool, intrusion detection systems, and firewall protections were all put into place. The thought is that these tools will help discover potential problems by 2019 in order to fix them by the 2020 presidential election.

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Minnesota Unable to Use Federal Funds to Improve Election Security

By: Samantha Becker

Election security was a significant concern leading up to election day in Minnesota. During the 2016 election campaign, the Department of Homeland Security determined that Russia attempted to hack into twenty-one state election systems. One of the states targeted was Minnesota. The attempt was unsuccessful, but it still raised concerns about the state’s ability to detect and protect against future election cyberattacks.

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