PROVIDENCE, RI – Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea today announced the allocation of grant money to every Rhode Island city and town to strengthen the security of voting systems and improve election processes.
The $100,000 in funding is part of Rhode Island's share of $3 million from Congress under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Secretary Gorbea serves as the state's Chief Elections Official under HAVA. Her office convened a task force to determine how to best spend and prioritize the funds designated for Rhode Island through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018.
"The security of our elections is fundamental to our democracy," said Secretary Gorbea. "We need to constantly assess and improve our systems on the federal, state and local levels. I want to thank the members of our congressional delegation – Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman James Langevin, and Congressman David Cicilline, who were instrumental in securing HAVA funding in Congress."
Under Secretary Gorbea's grant program, cities and towns will receive funds based on the number of voters who cast a ballot in the 2018 general election, with a minimum grant of $1,000. Grants must be used to acquire equipment, systems or technology that improve election administration and/or security on a local level.
To be eligible for grant funding, city and town election officials must submit a project description to the Department of State outlining how the money will be used. Communities will also be responsible for maintaining accurate records of how the money is spent and must submit a final financial accounting to the Department of State.
"My office will contact each community to identify some elections-related uses for their funds," said Secretary Gorbea. "Things like updating antivirus and malware programs, firewalls, new scanning equipment, online security and phishing training for election officials, and systems that detect potential network attacks."