With little exception, the federal government doled out its election security grants to the states and territories pretty much proportionally based on population.
In fact, the 11 states that received the biggest grants through the latest influx of funding for the Help America Vote Act are also the 11 most populous states in the U.S. California, with a population of 39.3 million, got $36.3 million including matching funds. Texas, with a population of 27.8 million, got $24.4 million.
Except for the nine smallest states, which all received $3.2 million, the per capita spending was between 88 cents and $2.47 per person. Texas had the least per capita funding.
Of the states that received the biggest grants, the one that stands out is Michigan. Michigan is the 10th-most populous state, but received the eighth-largest award. With $11.2 million in hand, the state got $1.13 per person to spend on election security — 25 cents more per person than Texas.
That’s notable because Michigan was the closest battleground state in the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump won the state by a margin of just 0.3 percent.
The grants, which were authorized through a spending bill the president signed in March, included $380 million total in federal funding. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission distributed it.
States can use the money to replace voting equipment, set up post-election audits, improve computers that handle election-related duties, hold cybersecurity training, put better cybersecurity systems in place or pursue other security measures.