Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea today announced the allocation of grant money to 18 Rhode Island cities and towns to strengthen the cybersecurity of voting systems and improve election processes.

These grants total $544,653 and are awarded as 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, according to Gorbea’s office.

“Election security starts at the local level,” said Secretary Gorbea in a statement. “There is no finish line when it comes to cybersecurity. Threats are always evolving, so we must constantly assess our systems and processes at both the state and local levels and make improvements to mitigate risk. These grants will help these communities do just that. I would like to thank our Congressional delegation for their leadership and advocacy at the federal level that has led to us receiving these funds to strengthen the cybersecurity of our election systems.”

Under Secretary Gorbea’s cybersecurity grant program, municipal election officials proactively completed a survey assessing their cybersecurity needs. Cities and towns then had the opportunity to submit grant project proposals to the Department of State based on the results of their assessment. Finally, a cybersecurity review panel examined and approved each proposal to make sure the project elements were consistent with the HAVA grant guidelines– to be used to acquire training, equipment, and/or technology that improves election administration and security on a local level.

2022 Cybersecurity Grant Award Program Recipients

Barrington: $48,900 Bristol: $37,499 Burrillville: $15,608 Central Falls: $29,032 Cranston: $50,301 Cumberland: $25,808 Foster: $38,020 Glocester: $13,000 Little Compton: $8,500 Middletown: $14,000 New Shoreham: $13,000 North Smithfield: $11,287 Pawtucket: $19,549 Richmond: $8,334 Warren: $12,640 Warwick: $176,000 West Warwick: $10,400 Woonsocket: $12,775

Total: $544,653

Secretary Gorbea announced the grants at a series of check presentations in the West Bay on Wednesday, where the city of Warwick received the largest grant to upgrade cybersecurity software and hardware related to their elections infrastructure.

“We are grateful for the cybersecurity grant funds designated by Secretary Gorbea,” said Kerry Nardolillo, director of elections for the City of Warwick. “The funds will make elections more secure in Warwick and throughout the state.”