WASHINGTON — Election integrity experts told lawmakers on Tuesday that federal funding for elections are needed immediately to administer November’s general election in the midst of a global pandemic.
What You Need To Know
- Election experts say federal funding for elections needed immediately
- Growing concern states won't have tools they need amid pandemic
- RELATED: Florida Officials Prepare for Mail-in Ballot Flood
With the 2020 general election only three months away, concern is growing that states may not have the tools they need.
“Offering the robust voting by mail, early mail, and Election Day options to minimize confusion and risk are optimal, but many jurisdictions don’t currently have the resources or personnel to offer all of these approaches,” said David Levine with the Alliance for Securing Democracy during a House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing.
The stimulus bill enacted in March provided $400 million to states to spend on elections. Now, lawmakers are considering even more as part of the next relief package.
A group of Republicans recently introduced a bill that would provide another $400 million to states. That funding could be used for personal protective gear, recruiting and training poll workers, and updating the voter rolls.
“We have to clean up these rolls, these voter rolls and databases,” said Rep. Michael Waltz (R) Florida 6th District in an interview conducted via Skype.
"This is particularly coming to light during COVID when states are looking at blasting ballots out to their rolls where you could have situations where ballots are going to people who are no longer there, who shouldn’t have them,” he added.
That figure is significantly less than the $3.6 billion in additional election funding Democrats passed out of the House back in May.
“The amount of funding has to be commensurate with the threat, and right now we are not only dealing with a foreign threat and foreign adversaries trying to interfere in our elections, but we also trying to deal with a public health threat,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D) Florida 7th District.
Democrats are pushing to expand mail-in and early voting during the pandemic. This has become a major point of contention with the White House after the president suggested mail-in-voting would lead to widespread fraud. Election experts say fraud is rare, but this issue is now contributing to a stimulus stalemate on Capitol Hill.
“If there’s one area where we should have bipartisan agreement, it should be on protecting our democracy,” Murphy said.