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Statement

National Security Leaders Urge Congress to Provide Election Officials with Additional Funds

National security leaders and experts call on Congress to provide funding to election officials for administering a safe and secure election in November, despite the coronavirus.

Published: July 20, 2020
National Security Leaders Urge Congress to Protect Election

Dear Leader McCon­nell, Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schu­mer,

Amer­ican elec­tions, the bedrock of our demo­cracy, face two extraordin­ary chal­lenges this year: Covid-19 and combatting foreign inter­fer­ence. While these twin chal­lenges are first and fore­most a test of our demo­cracy, they are also a threat to our national secur­ity. We urge you to provide elec­tion offi­cials with the resources they need to protect our elec­tions this year.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, state and local govern­ments face signi­fic­ant and unex­pec­ted costs as they prepare to provide safe in-person voting options, meet the increased demand for mail voting, and bolster online systems that have become essen­tial resources for voters at home. Bolster­ing and secur­ing this infra­struc­ture will require more staff, supplies, and tech­no­logy. And this increased need for resources is coming at a time when many govern­ment budgets are facing a revenue crisis.

We know that hostile foreign actors like China, Iran and Russia seek to cast doubt on the integ­rity of our elect­oral system. foot­note1_67au8yz 1 U.S. Senate Select Commit­tee on Intel­li­gence, Russian Active Meas­ures Campaigns and Inter­fer­ence in the 2016 U.S. Elec­tion, Volume 1: Russian Efforts Against Elec­tion Infra­struc­ture Russian Efforts Against Elec­tion Infra­struc­ture, https://www.intel­li­gence.senate.gov/sites/default/files/docu­ments/Report_Volume1.pdf.  These actors influ­ence Amer­ic­ans by exploit­ing fear and confu­sion around the voting process. Fail­ing to make sure that all citizens can vote safely and securely will only give them mater­ial to further erode faith in our demo­cratic system.

Congress has provided some money for states to run elec­tions during the Covid-19 pandemic, but it has not been enough. foot­note2_p6×8kae 2 Chris R. Deluzio et al., Ensur­ing Safe Elec­tions, Alli­ance for Secur­ing Demo­cracy, Pitt Cyber, R Street & Bren­nan Center for Justice, 2020, https://www.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020-State-Cost-Analysis.pdf.  To cover some of the short­fall, state elec­tion offi­cials have redir­ec­ted federal funds that were inten­ded for elec­tion secur­ity improve­ments. foot­note3_2l1o459 3 Matthew Vann, “Some cash-strapped states turn to elec­tion secur­ity funds to fight COVID-19,” ABC News, Apr. 6, 2020, https://abcnews.go.com/Polit­ics/cash-strapped-states-turn-elec­tion-secur­ity-funds-fight/story?id=69940136.  Local elec­tion offi­cials from both parties have expressed the need for more resources to ensure that voters can parti­cip­ate safely in elec­tions this year, and urged Congress to provide more fund­ing in the next coronavirus stim­u­lus pack­age. foot­note4_mras57i 4 “Elec­tion Offi­cials Call for More Elec­tion Fund­ing in Next Stim­u­lus Bill,” last updated May 13, 2020, https://docs.google.com/docu­ment/d/1pRL­WoFqj5NXz05PqJjbX­Snn3rmPPWPvtHqd­W1KZ3_ck/mobile­basic?urp=gmail_link..

Amer­ic­ans should feel confid­ent that their elec­tion offi­cials have the resources needed to provide healthy options for all voters and ensure integ­rity in elect­oral outcomes. We urge you to provide fund­ing to make sure our elec­tions are safe and secure.

Sincerely,

Madeleine Albright, former Secret­ary of State

Spen­cer Boyer, former National Intel­li­gence Officer for Europe

Ambas­sador William Burns, former Deputy Secret­ary of State

Michael Carpenter, former Deputy Assist­ant Secret­ary of Defense

Michael Cher­toff, former Secret­ary of Home­land Secur­ity

James Clap­per, former Director of National Intel­li­gence

Rudy de Leon, former Deputy Secret­ary of Defense

Raymond DuBois, former Acting Under Secret­ary of the Army

Ambas­sador Eric Edel­man, former Under Secret­ary of Defense for Policy

Aaron Fried­berg, Professor of Polit­ics and Inter­na­tional Affairs, Prin­ceton Univer­sity, former Deputy Assist­ant for National Secur­ity Affairs, Office of the Vice Pres­id­ent

Colleen Graffy, former Deputy Assist­ant Secret­ary of State for Europe and Euras­ian Affairs

Chuck Hagel, former Secret­ary of Defense and U.S. Senator

John J. Hamre, former Deputy Secret­ary of Defense

Michael Hayden, former Director of the Cent­ral Intel­li­gence Agency and the National Secur­ity Agency

Juli­ette Kayyem, former Assist­ant Secret­ary of Home­land Secur­ity

John Kerry, former Secret­ary of State

David Kramer, former Assist­ant Secret­ary of State for Demo­cracy, Human Rights and Labor

Douglas Lute, LTG, US Army, Retired; former US Ambas­sador to NATO

Bryan McGrath, Managing Director, The Ferry­Bridge Group

Michael Morell, former Acting and Deputy Director, Cent­ral Intel­li­gence Agency

Janet Napol­it­ano, former Secret­ary of Home­land Secur­ity

Michael E. O’Han­lon, Senior Fellow, Brook­ings Insti­tu­tion

Sean O’Keefe, former Secret­ary of the Navy

Leon Panetta, former Secret­ary of Defense, CIA Director, White House Chief of Staff and Congress­man

Amy Pope, former Deputy Home­land Secur­ity Advisor to the Pres­id­ent

Ambas­sador Susan E. Rice, former National Secur­ity Advisor and U.S. Ambas­sador to the United Nations

Governor Tom Ridge, former Secret­ary of Home­land Secur­ity

Kori Schake, Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Stud­ies, Amer­ican Enter­prise Insti­tute, former Deputy Director of Policy Plan­ning, U.S. State Depart­ment

Ambas­sador Wendy Sher­man, former Under Secret­ary of State

Suzanne Spauld­ing, former Under Secret­ary of Home­land Secur­ity

Strobe Talbott, former Deputy Secret­ary of State

Matthew Waxman, former Deputy Assist­ant Secret­ary of Defense

Dov S. Zakheim, former Under Secret­ary of Defense (Comp­troller)

Philip Zelikow, former Coun­selor of the Depart­ment of State

End Notes