State election officials are appealing to Congress for additional money for election security, but they want the next round of funding to arrive without restrictions.
The lobbying effort, launched this week by the Republican-majority National Association for Secretaries of State, could further complicate the fate of Capitol Hill efforts to improve the conduct of elections.
The House Democrats' political overhaul, HR 1, would set new nationwide requirements for election equipment vendors. But that measure faces a minimal chance of success in the Republican Senate. And the separate legislation being drafted on that side of the Capitol, written more narrowly to focus on improving election security in time for the 2020 balloting, may not include new grant funding for the states to purchase modern machinery and may only advance if mandatory paper backups and post-election audits are the strings attached for states to get funding.
Also, some congressional Republicans are against more grant money until they learn how the states spent the $380 million appropriated last year.
"If you're going to get money to the states, it doesn't help us to do it in the middle of a presidential election year," Democratic Secretary of State Jim Condos of Vermont told the news site FCW. "We're not going to have time between January and November of next year to do a whole lot of changes, [so] in order for that money to be spent, it really has to be done this year."