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New election cybersecurity funding likely to be only a stopgap

Voters cast their ballots at voting machines at Cheyenne High School on Election Day on November 8, 2016 in North Las Vegas, Nevada.
Voters cast their ballots at voting machines at Cheyenne High School on November 8, 2016, in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Ethan Miller via Getty Images

The recent $380 million of federal funding to replace paperless voting machinery and improve cybersecurity is desperately needed, but it is unlikely to ensure the long-term cybersecurity of U.S. election technology.

The big picture: At best, the one-time spending will provide a catalyst for election organizations to gain basic cybersecurity competence. At worst, though, the money will be spent on discretionary purchases (e.g., digital pollbooks or new PC hardware) that only appear helpful and that, without proper security-centric integration, may increase the systems’ exposure to attacks.