New Jersey announces $10.2 million in election security initiatives

TRENTON, NJ — New Jersey has finalized a spending plan utilizing $10.2 million in federal and state election security funds, according to an Aug. 17 press release from New Jersey Department of State. The plan will fund programs into 2023 and will address critical election infrastructure, such as cybersecurity, database improvements, and election auditing. New Jersey Department of State, through its Division of Elections, and New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, through its New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell, affirmed their continued confidence in the security of the state’s election systems.

“Our citizens deserve a secure election system that fulfills their unalienable right to participate in their government free from interference. Improving New Jersey’s current election infrastructure has been an ongoing process, which has included planned database upgrades and increased cybersecurity partnerships. But this infusion of funding can help set the foundation for what we hope can be one of the most advanced and secure election systems in the nation,” New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way said in the release. “I have had one priority since assuming leadership over the Division of Elections, which is to protect each citizen’s vote like it were my own. That is what I’ll continue to do as we take the necessary steps to upgrade our election infrastructure.”

“The cybersecurity assistance that we provide to state and local officials in the form of vulnerability assessments of polling places, warehouses and ballot storage areas will continue throughout this election cycle,” New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Jared Maples said in the press release. “We are working with municipal, county, and state election officials to offer services to ensure the security and integrity of the Statewide Voter Registration System. To that end, the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell will continue to provide real-time monitoring of cyber threats, tailored analysis, and share information on resilience and risk mitigation strategies.”

State officials are increasing deterrence, detection and response resources and making relevant upgrades to the state’s election systems, according to the release.

Of the total funding, $9.7 million was awarded to New Jersey following congressional appropriation and the state provided nearly half a million dollars in matching funds. Tahesha Way, in consultation with Maples, county election officials and other state officials, developed the spending plan to include the following spending categories: cybersecurity, physical security, training, communication, Voter Registration System, voting equipment, election auditing and ADA compliance.