Election Security

Some — but not all — local counties set to receive federal funding

On Tuesday, Upshur and Barbour counties were granted a total of $350,000 to improve election security.

Upshur County will receive $237,866.26, while Barbour will get $117,577.75. The money will be dispersed by the West Virginia State Election Commission, which on Tuesday approved $6,535,478.96 in grant funding to 41 of the state’s 55 counties who applied for financial support to improve election security.

The grants are part of a funding project established by Secretary of State Mac Warner to improve the administration of elections for federal office, including the enhancement of election technology and making election security improvements.

We applaud Upshur County and Barbour County officials for applying for the monies, especially as several other local counties are not going to receive any of the grant funding, including Randolph, Tucker and Lewis counties.

The only other counties in The Inter-Mountain coverage area that will receive any of the federal funding are Grant County at $113,307.84, Hardy County at $4,607.84, Pendleton County at $115,379.84 and Pocahontas County at $134,553.83.

West Virginia secured approximately $3.6 million in federal funding under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in April. Combined with repurposed monies of approximately $2.9 million from the former HAVA loan fund, which was modified by the Legislature in 2018 into a loan and grant fund, Warner established a grant application process to distribute 100 percent of the available $6.5 million in HAVA funds to West Virginia counties. Depending on the items requested, counties are required to supply a percentage of matching funds to leverage the overall enhancement of election technology and security in West Virginia.

“Any time we can secure federal money to help our county clerks leverage additional local funding to address election security, we’re going to do our best to get it. The upgrades and improvements that will be made because of this funding will continue to increase confidence in our election system at the local level,” Warner said.

The $6.5 million allocated to the counties will result in more than $12.6 million in new election systems, physical and cyber security upgrades throughout the state.