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More funds needed for safe pandemic elections

The $400 million in election assistance funds that Congress authorized in the March pandemic relief package would not even cover the costs of switching to predominately mail-in balloting in five states, much less all 50, according to a report published Thursday. A group of think tanks, led by New York University's Brennan Center for Law and Justice, say that states where vote-by-mail is not the norm need much more funding to expand mail-in and absentee ballots to all their voters this November as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. “Nobody should be facing the choice of their health or their right to vote,” Paul Rosenzweig, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute and one of the report's authors, told reporters. Security experts say voting by mail is perhaps the most secure form of casting a ballot, but scaling it up by November will cost state and local authorities millions of dollars at moment when their tax revenues are plummeting. Benjamin Freed reports

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

Chicago app starts the vaccine wait list

To distribute up-to-date public health advice and let residents pre-register to receive COVID-19 vaccines, the Chicago Department of Public Health unveiled a new web application this week. Chicago residents who enter their health information into the Chi COVID Coach are able to receive text messages based on how severe their COVID-19 symptoms appear to be, including information on how to limit exposure to others and how long they should remain in isolation if they believe they’re infected. The app will also notifies users when COVID-19 testing or antibody testing is available, and will allow residents to join the queue for a vaccine when one becomes available. Ryan Johnston has details.

States say next pandemic relief bill needs IT and cybersecurity aid

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that she wants the next pandemic relief bill to include $1 trillion to prop up state and local budgets that've been gutted by the COVID-19 crisis' economic fallout. If any of that money actually comes through, a coalition of state and local associations, including the National Governors Association and NASCIO, say a chunk of it needs to go toward cybersecurity and IT infrastructure. "COVID-19 has required our workforces, educational systems and general way of life to quickly move remotely, exerting greater pressure on cybersecurity and IT professionals and increasing the risk of vulnerabilities and gaps to state and local networks," read a letter to congressional leaders signed this by 12 organizations. “This surge on our information technology infrastructure requires additional investment in both funding and manpower to keep up with the massive usage.” Ben has more.

StateScoop 50 Awards open for voting

Voting is open for the 2020 StateScoop 50 Awards! Cast your vote today to recognize and celebrate the top 50 leaders in the state government community. The annual StateScoop 50 Awards honor the best and the brightest who make state government more efficient and effective, including people and organizations making strides in innovation, cybersecurity and service delivery. The awards will be presented during NASCIO's year-end conference in Minneapolis in October. Vote now.

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