After the allegations of Russia meddling with the 2016 US elections, which is still under investigation, the New York Times has learned that States are now going all out to upgrade their outdated election systems.

Most States are now willing to ensure their election infrastructure is secure and beyond reproach, to preserve the integrity of elections. With elections due to be held next year, upgrading of voting machines, election databases and hiring of cybersecurity experts has become a top priority for a growing number of States.

The move has received support from across the political divide, and one of the largest overhauls of election systems infrastructure could be underway in a majority of States across the country.

Election credibility fears.

For years, experts have warned against the continued use of outdated systems during elections, stressing the need to use cutting-edge technology to ward off any interference threats of the electoral process from hackers or hostile countries.

But nobody paid attention until after the 2016 elections when the dangers were laid bare for all to see. Despite the FBI assurances that the2016 elections were not tampered with, the attempts by Russia instilled fear into the related government agencies.

This prompted Homeland Security to classify the country's election systems as a critical national infrastructure. This put the system in a class that requires special protection such as the electricity grid and banking systems.

A new report released on Tuesday confirmed that US election systems are extremely vulnerable as some gadgets are manufactured using parts from countries like China, who would like to interfere with America's democratic process.

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New safety measures.

New equipment guidelines have been put in place with the release of a five-page guide, outlining basic features that a secure system should provide. The measures will be shared across all States to ensure that manufacturers produce gadgets that have improved security features.

Some of the basic requirements include, that voting devices should be accompanied by documents that can be verified. Also, hardware and software failures should not interfere with the vote tally.

Challenges.

One of the challenges that the upgrade faces is getting all the 50 States to agree on adopting and implementing the guidelines. Some, like California, decided to build their own security system from scratch, while four other States, rejected the guidelines.

The biggest hurdle is financing, as secure systems do not come cheap. In a bid to upgrade South Carolina's election system, the State received a $40 million quote but could only raise $1 million.

The States will now look up to Congress to allocate a budget for new, up-to-date election equipment like they did in 2000 when the House released $5.3 billion in response to the issues that were exposed during that year's election.]