Grant Funding for Elections: How to Utilize State and Federal Funding to Improve Physical and Cybersecurity
Grant Funding for Elections: How to Utilize State and Federal Funding to Improve Physical and Cybersecurity

By Amanda Day, Grants Development Consultant (State and Local Government)

Every year in the United States, citizens cast their ballots for the candidates of their choice in federal, state, and local elections. Voters rely on the security of election infrastructure to ensure that they can cast their votes safely and that all votes will be counted fairly. Unfortunately, physical threats against election workers have increased in the past several years, and more must be done to protect these individuals. Making voting facilities safe is important for workers and members of the public who visit to cast their ballots. In the past, states and local governments have implemented procedures and tools to keep the voting process safe and secure. In addition to physical safety measures like door locks, security cameras, and more, investments have also been made in election IT infrastructure to ensure that election information is safe from breaches and cyber threats. This includes investments in the modernization of voting equipment and election-related computer systems. To make further improvements in physical security and cybersecurity, state and local governments have the opportunity to apply for grant funding through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

HAVA Election Security Grants

Created as a result of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, HAVA funds are formula grants that provide states with additional resources to improve the administration of elections, including enhancing technology and making certain election security improvements. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 has provided $75 million to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Funds are administered by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and directly allocated to states. Further, states may choose to regrant funds to local governments at their discretion. It is also expected that HAVA funding will increase before the 2024 election cycle, allowing state and local governments to make further investments in election security.

In April of 2022, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced that HAVA election security funds might also be used for physical security services and social media threat monitoring in response to increased threats made against federal, state and local election officials, poll workers and voters.

Eligible use of these funds includes, but is not limited to:

  • Voting Equipment
  • Voting Processes
  • Voting Registration Systems
  • Election Auditing
  • Cyber and Physical Security
  • Voter Education
  • Accessibility
  • Cybersecurity Training for Election Officials
  • Other Necessary investments


State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)

In addition to funds administered by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the Department of Homeland Security has officially designated that election infrastructure qualifies as critical infrastructure. In early 2023, DHS announced a change that could make a big difference for election offices around the U.S. Of the funds from the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSP), three percent must be dedicated to election security, including physical security measures and cybersecurity. State and local election offices can use these funds to keep poll workers and voters safe by installing security cameras, door locks, and other physical security equipment. In addition, investments in cybersecurity will ensure fair and accurate election results.


With the 2024 presidential election fast approaching, election security will be a major focus. Efforts by DHS, FEMA, and other organizations to secure more funding for election security is an important step in improving voting processes across the U.S. These investments are also a meaningful statement from the federal government that it understands threats of physical violence against voters and those who run our elections are on the rise and they are committed to creating safe environments.