Sec. Simon: “Until these funds are disbursed for their intended purpose – election security – Minnesota will continue to have a target on its back.”
SAINT PAUL – Secretary of State Steve Simon today commended the House of Representatives for passing, on a bipartisan vote, House File 14, authorizing the Office of the Secretary of State to access all $6.6 million of the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds disbursed last year to Minnesota for the purpose of strengthening election security. The funds were appropriated by Congress and signed into law on March 23, 2018, by President Trump.
“Minnesota is the only state without access to these funds,” said Secretary Simon. “Investing in Democracy means devoting resources to strengthen Minnesota’s nation-leading systems. Until these funds are disbursed for their intended purpose – election security – Minnesota will continue to have a target on its back. I am grateful to Speaker Hortman and Representatives Nelson and O’Driscoll for their leadership, and I urge Senate Majority Leader Gazelka to fulfill his commitment to pass legislation quickly in the Senate that would authorize access to the entire $6.6 million. Minnesotans have been waiting for nearly a full year to enhance our election cybersecurity. So far, the Senate has been slow-walking the authorization process – for reasons that are unclear. The political game-playing in the Senate continues to leave us at risk.”
Secretary Simon early this year announced his “Investing in Democracy” agenda, a central plank of which was to enhance Minnesota’s election cybersecurity and to modernize and secure the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS). After Congress allocated more than $6.6 million in HAVA funds to Minnesota, Secretary Simon convened a working group of election officials from all levels of government, legislators and staff from all four legislative caucuses, cybersecurity experts, and other stakeholders to determine the best use for these federal funds.
The working group has submitted a list of 20 specific proposals to enhance the security and accessibility of Minnesota’s nation-leading elections systems, including: hiring a cyber-navigator to work with cities and counties on election cybersecurity issues; disbursing sub grants to local governments for security enhancements; and securing information sharing networks between the OSS and cities and counties.
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