President Donald Trump on Friday promised an intense, “whole-of-government” focus on securing the nation’s elections from cyberattacks — but a POLITICO survey of states finds ample reasons to worry about both this year’s midterms and the 2020 election.

Only 14 states plus Washington, D.C., say they plan to replace their voting machines in time for the next presidential election using their shares of the $380 million in election technology funding that Congress approved in March, according to POLITICO’s survey of election agencies nationwide.

At least seven other states have paid for new voting equipment with other money. But 21 states either have decided not to upgrade their machines or are unsure of their plans — with some saying they would need much more federal aid to swap out their equipment.

POLITICO has previously reported that states expected to have few security upgrades in place before November, when voters will decide whether to keep Trump’s Republican allies in charge of Congress. Of the 42 states that described aspects of their plans to POLITICO, none indicated they would have new voting machines purchased with federal funding in place this year.

The findings alarmed election security experts, even as Trump chaired a National Security Council meeting Friday to review his administration’s efforts to fend off the expected return of the Russian hackers who meddled in 2016. That meeting covered cyber threats to elections from “malign foreign actors,” federal assistance to states and “actions to investigate, prosecute, and hold accountable” election meddlers, according to the White House.

“The President has made it clear that his Administration will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from any nation state or other malicious actors,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “The Trump Administration will continue to provide the support necessary to the owners of elections systems — State and local governments — to secure their elections.”


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Eric Geller is a cybersecurity reporter at POLITICO, covering the White House and the Departments of Justice, State and Commerce.