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Election Officials, National Security Experts, and Business Leaders’ Support for More Election Funding

Election officials, public health and national security experts, and business and other leaders have urged Congress to provide more federal funds to ensure this fall’s election in free, fair and secure in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last Updated: August 4, 2020
Published: May 11, 2020

Table of Contents


Letters to Congress

Letter from 1,000 public health experts

Letter from Busi­ness for Amer­ica

Letter from national secur­ity lead­ers and experts

Letter from 11 Secret­ar­ies of State 

Letter from the Elec­tion Center (National Asso­ci­ation of Elec­tion Offi­cials)

Letter from the Elec­tion Commis­sion­ers Asso­ci­ation the State of New York, Demo­cratic Caucus

Letter from the Flor­ida Super­visors of Elec­tions

Letter from the Geor­gia Asso­ci­ation of Voter Regis­trars & Elec­tion Offi­cials

Letter from the Iowa State Asso­ci­ation of County Audit­ors

Letter from the National Asso­ci­ation of Counties (July 21, 2020)

Letter from the National Asso­ci­ation of Counties (April 6, 2020)

Letter from the Michigan Asso­ci­ation of Muni­cipal Clerks

Letter from the Missouri Asso­ci­ation of County Clerks & Elec­tion Author­it­ies

Letter from the Ohio Asso­ci­ation of Elec­tion Offi­cials

Letter from over 100 elec­tion offi­cials

Letter from the U.S. Elec­tion Assist­ance Commis­sion

Letter from U.S. House veter­ans


Edit­or­i­als/Op-eds About the Need for Federal Fund­ing

Missouri, other states must protect our elec­tions during COVID-19. Roy Blunt can help Kansas City Star, August 2, 2020

Keep­ing polling loca­tions safe, access­ible amid COVID-19 costly, complic­ated: Funds needed Clarion Ledger, July 30, 2020

We’re Repub­lican Elec­tion Offi­cials, and We Are Worried Politico, July 30, 2020

Congress must act now to preserve integ­rity of and faith in our elect­oral process Lexing­ton Herald Leader, July 28, 2020

Jeff Green­burg: Congress must safe­guard integ­rity of elec­tions Pitt­s­burgh Post-Gazette, July 27, 2020

Congress needs to support Flor­id­a’s elec­tions Roll Call, July 24, 2020

Repub­lic­ans must admit the obvi­ous and get a new coronavirus relief bill passed imme­di­ately Wash­ing­ton Post, July 22, 2020

It was a rough primary season. The general elec­tion could be worse Wash­ing­ton Post, July 20, 2020

Congress must act to protect the legit­im­acy of the elec­tion this fall Hill, July 8, 2020

Texas GOP should­n’t fear expan­ded absentee voting Dallas Morn­ing News, May 25, 2020

Column: Elec­tion boards face huge, costly task in Novem­ber Colum­bus Dispatch, May 22, 2020 

Edit­or­ial: Amid elec­tion uncer­tainty, we must plan for mail voting Colum­bus Dispatch, April 28, 2020

Amer­ic­ans deserve the right to vote without endan­ger­ing their lives Phil­adelphia Inquirer, April 26, 2020

What’s Super Popu­lar? Voting by Mail Nation, April 23, 2020

Protect the Novem­ber elec­tion Boston Globe, April 15, 2020

COVID will wreck our elec­tions, if Congress allows it NJ.COM, March 31, 2020


Elec­tion Offi­cial Quotes

Alabama

James E. Tatum, Probate Judge and Chief Elec­tion Offi­cial, Bullock County

  • “Earlier this year, Congress alloc­ated $400 million through the CARES Act toward elec­tion fund­ing. That is a vitally import­ant start, but it is not nearly enough to ensure that our elec­tions are secure and that voting is access­ible to all who are eligible…State and local elec­tion offi­cials are doing their jobs, but we cannot do it alone. As Congress contin­ues to nego­ti­ate the next finan­cial stim­u­lus pack­age, it must provide addi­tional funds that are urgently needed for us to protect every voter and every vote.”  Probate judge: CARES Act elec­tion money import­ant but not nearly enough Union Springs Herald, July 1, 2020 

Arizona

Virginia Ross, Pinal County Recorder and Pres­id­ent of the Arizona Record­ers Asso­ci­ation

Lisa M. Marra, Cochise County Elec­tion Director and Pres­id­ent of the Elec­tion Offi­cials of Arizona

  • Ross and Marra co-authored an op-ed in April 2020, urging the state to expand mail voting options. It reads: "On behalf of the Arizona Record­ers Asso­ci­ation and the Elec­tion Offi­cials of Arizona, we believe it is crucial that the Legis­lature extend our abil­ity to hold ballot-by-mail elec­tions for state and federal elec­tions, a prac­tice already author­ized for juris­dic­tional elec­tions. It is the best way to ensure Arizona voters are safe during this pandemic and have the certainty of the continu­ity of our demo­cracy.” We run elec­tions in Arizona. An all-mail option for 2020 would­n’t ruin the process AZ Cent­ral, April 8, 2020


Arkan­sas

Terri Hollings­worth, Circuit and County Clerk, Pulaski County

  • “To ensure a smooth trans­ition as county clerks pivot to meet a signi­fic­ant increase in absentee voting, we need greater assist­ance from the Secret­ary of State…The governor must [alloc­ate] emer­gency funds to adequately supple­ment the needs of all 75 counties, to conduct a safe Novem­ber elec­tion. Adequate means fund­ing addi­tional costs for post­age, print­ing, processing, canvassing, and tabu­lat­ing absentee requests and completed ballots.” Open Letter from Pulaski County Circuit and County Clerk July 2, 2020 

Color­ado

Jena Gris­wold, Color­ado Secret­ary of State  

  • “It’s encour­aging that the U.S. Senate has recog­nized the need to fund Amer­ican elec­tions during this national health crisis. The planned $400 million of stim­u­lus fund­ing for states to promote mail ballots is a good step forward, but ulti­mately will need to be augmen­ted in order for states to adopt mail ballots before the Novem­ber General Elec­tion. With just six months to the elec­tion, action and fund­ing are needed now.” Color­ado Secret­ary of State Jena Gris­wold State­ment on Elec­tion Fund­ing in Coronavirus Stim­u­lus Pack­age Color­ado Secret­ary of State, March 26, 2020 


Connecti­cut

Denise Merrill, Connecti­cut Secret­ary of State

J.R. Romano, Chair­man, Connecti­cut Repub­lican Party 


Geor­gia

Deidre Holden, Pauld­ing County Elec­tions Super­visor and Co-Pres­id­ent of the Geor­gia Elec­tion Offi­cials Asso­ci­ation

Lynn Bailey, Exec­ut­ive Director, Augusta County Board of Elec­tions 

Char­lene Maynard, Admin­is­trat­ive Assist­ant, Macon-Bibb County Board of Elec­tions 

  • Maynard has been work­ing on the elec­tions office’s budget for since Febru­ary, and states that the county has ignored reques­ted increases in many areas. “This budget makes us look like we don’t know what we’re doing and that’s not fair,” she said. “We asked for a printer cart­ridge line item of $18,300. They did not add that account­ing line in at all…We don’t have enough money to pay for things.” ‘We don’t have enough money,’ Bibb elec­tions board says of budget reduc­tion Tele­graph, June 25, 2020

Sam Till­man, Chair­man, DeKalb Board of Regis­tra­tions and Elec­tions 

  • During a June 23 brief­ing with county commis­sion­ers, Till­man said the elec­tion office would request an addi­tional $1.3 million for the previ­ously approved 2020 budget. The addi­tional funds would go towards “person­nel, equip­ment, post­age, supplies, everything that we could think of,” Till­man said. DeKalb elec­tions offi­cials work­ing on plan to prevent future issues Atlanta Journal-Consti­tu­tion, June 24, 2020 

Janine Eveler, Director of Elec­tions and Regis­tra­tion, Cobb County

Charles Dave, Elec­tion Super­in­tend­ent, Brooks County


Iowa

Paul Pate, Iowa Secret­ary of State 

Roxanna Moritz, Scott County Auditor and Commis­sioner of Elec­tions and Pres­id­ent of the Iowa State Asso­ci­ation of County Audit­ors

  • “As we’re losing revenue or adding addi­tional costs to all of our county budgets,we all know that it’s going to be a struggle moving into Novem­ber.” (15:30) Inter­view 3: Consid­er­a­tions for CARES Act Grant Fund­ing Use at the Local Level U.S. Elec­tion Assist­ance Commis­sion, May 21, 2020
  • “I really feel like fund­ing was, in elec­tions, already under­fun­ded before COVID-19. You know, we were look­ing for monies in order to shore up the cyber­se­cur­ity side of everything within elec­tions, and we…have lots of counties that are very small who don’t have IT depart­ments, and I think it’s very import­ant that we remem­ber that we’re running dual campaigns here right now—the elec­tion cyber secur­ity and COVID all at the same time, and we need fund­ing to ensure that…we can deliver a good elec­tion.” (25:00) Inter­view 3: Consid­er­a­tions for CARES Act Grant Fund­ing Use at the Local Level U.S. Elec­tion Assist­ance Commis­sion, May 21, 2020

Kentucky

Jared Dear­ing, Exec­ut­ive Director, Kentucky State Board of Elec­tions 


Louisi­ana

Kyle Ardoin, Louisi­ana Secret­ary of State

  • Louisi­ana Secret­ary of State Kyle Ardoin, a Repub­lican, said that he opposes Demo­crats’ propos­als to attach require­ments to the fund­ing such as mandat­ing the option to vote by mail. But, he added, “I am disap­poin­ted that much-needed federal fund­ing will not be included in the Senate’s coronavirus bill to help stem the rising tide of pandemic costs along with increased ballot secur­ity costs.” Senate GOP Coronavirus Pack­age Omits Addi­tional Elec­tions Fund­ing Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2020

Maine

Matthew Dunlap, Maine Secret­ary of State

  • Secret­ary of State and Chief Elec­tion Offi­cial notes that the required match for CARES Act fund­ing is making it an issue for the Maine legis­lature: “We are hoping they will change,” Dunlap said. “The deleg­a­tion has been very respons­ive to the whole match issue, which even if the Legis­lature weren’t out of town, with what the budget projec­tions are show­ing, a $658,000 match feels like a pretty heavy lift right now.” Maine may struggle to claim federal pandemic fund­ing for elec­tions Press Herald, April 27, 2020

Michigan

Cynthia Bower, City Clerk, Taylor

Tina Barton, City Clerk and Chief Elec­tions Offi­cial, Rochester Hills

  • “What kind of price tag are you going to put on the integ­rity of the elec­tion process and the safety of those who work it and those who vote?” said Tina Barton, the city clerk and chief elec­tions offi­cial in Rochester Hills, Michigan, a state where Trump beat Demo­crat Hillary Clin­ton in 2016 by fewer than 11,000 votes. “Those are the things at risk.” 'Epic fail­ure’: U.S. elec­tion offi­cials warn of Novem­ber chaos due to budget crunch Reuters, July 10, 2020 

John Gleason, Clerk, Genesse County 

Michael Hanley, Clerk, Saginaw County 

  • “(This effort) is very simple: It’s about protect­ing the public safety when they vote in August and Novem­ber, whether they choose to vote at home or more diffi­cultly in a polling place,” Hanley said. “We want to make sure that we’ve got the protect­ive equip­ment for elec­tion work­ers and for voters to be able to vote safely, we believe that should be a right. Our elec­tions are the bedrock of our coun­try and they’re worth protect­ing.” Mid-Michigan county clerks team up to endorse bipar­tisan safe voting initi­at­ive MLive, July 10, 2020 

Jocelyn Benson, Michigan Secret­ary of State  

  • “There are things Michigan needs feder­ally as well: more fund­ing for PPE, high-speed tabu­lat­ors, post­age and mail­ings, and stronger support for the U.S. Postal Service…The amount of equip­ment and fund­ing for polling loca­tions, and the number of elec­tion work­ers we’ve recruited and trained has been based on a small percent­age cast­ing of voters cast­ing absentee ballots. That percent­age, however, is shift­ing. We must adapt our system to that shift.” Vote-by-mail worked in Michigan. Here’s what we need to succeed in the fall Brook­ings, July 19, 2020 
  • Jocelyn Benson (D), Michigan’s secret­ary of state, respon­ded to a ques­tion on Twit­ter about whether $400 million was enough with a single syllable: “No.” Senate stim­u­lus pack­age includes $400 million to help run elec­tions amid the pandemic Wash­ing­ton Post, March 25, 2020 

Missouri

Shane Schoeller, Clerk, Green County

  • “County reven­ues are down signi­fic­antly here in the past two months. We’re already asked to look at where we can make line-item reduc­tions for this current year. And when you’re an elec­tion office during the tear 2020, any major elec­tion year, this is not the year that you can be making very many line items reduc­tions. So that’s where this addi­tional fund­ing is going to be so signi­fic­ant…We look forward to hope­fully being able to secure more fund­ing as we look towards the rest of this year.” (19:40) Inter­view 3: Consid­er­a­tions for CARES Act Grant Fund­ing Use at the Local Level U.S. Elec­tion Assist­ance Commis­sion, May 21, 2020

New York

James Scheuer­man, Demo­cratic Elec­tions Commis­sioner, Nassau County 

  • [Schuer­man], who expects his county to send about 600,000 [absentee ballot] applic­a­tions, said that cover­ing the cost of return post­age as required by the governor is expens­ive. “Nassau County got $1.9 million in the federal COVID funds grant, and that is a bulk of that,” Scheuer­man said. “I believe some­where between $1 million and $1.4 (million) is going to go just for post­age.” How local boards of elec­tions are prepar­ing for the pandemic primary City & State, May 14, 2020 

Thomas Nich­ols, Elec­tions Commis­sioner, St. Lawrence County  

  • The most absentee ballots he recalls [his office] had ever received was 3,200 during a general elec­tion. This year, if 30% of voters request a ballot, that number could skyrocket to between 16,000 and 19,000. “I’m not complain­ing, I’m saying that’s a monu­mental chal­lenge for a small staff and a lot of rural counties,” Nich­ols said. He said that his agency received about $126,000 in federal funds, which is expec­ted to cover only about half of the cost of the primar­ies alone. How local boards of elec­tions are prepar­ing for the pandemic primary City & State, May 14, 2020 

Kristen Zebrowski Stav­isky, Commis­sioner, Rock­land County Board of Elec­tions 

  • Zebrowski Stav­isky said Rock­land has received $398,000 in federal fund­ing, but said it’s not enough. Post­age for mail­ing the applic­a­tions alone will cost $90,000 and given that’s just the first step, she said, “the pot is shrink­ing quickly.” How local boards of elec­tions are prepar­ing for the pandemic primary City & State, May 14, 2020 

Nevada

Wayne Thor­ley, Deputy for Elec­tions, Nevada 


North Caro­lina

Members of the Rowan County Elec­tions Board

  • “[Members] of the [Rowan County] Elec­tions Board advoc­ated for more fund­ing from the county’s 2020–21 budget, which was passed on June 16. The board reques­ted $927,196 but was only approved for $722,410. Last year, the board was alloc­ated a little more than $700,000. County manager Aaron Church… called this year’s budget 'tight’ and 'conser­vat­ive’…" COVID-19 elec­tion funds will supple­ment county money in Novem­ber Salis­bury Post, June 26, 2020 

George W. Benson, Board Member, Rowan County Board of Elec­tions 

  • In a letter urging the call­ing for commis­sion­ers and board members to approve the newly proposed Rowan County budget, Benson writes, “It is the respons­ib­il­ity of the Board of Elec­tions to offer all ways possible for a citizen to do their civic duty, vote. And it is the respons­ib­il­ity of the Rowan County Board of Commis­sion­ers to fund this right of demo­cracy.” Letter: Fund right of demo­cracy, fully approve elec­tions budget Salis­bury Post, June 2, 2020 

Karen Brin­son Bell, Exec­ut­ive Director, North Caro­lina State Board of Elec­tions 

  • “[Elec­tion offi­cials] have day-to-day oper­a­tions that they have to fund and budget and prepare for, and when some­thing of this nature comes along, that’s totally outside of the budgets that they’ve prepared.” Federal Elec­tion Fund­ing Is Needed To Keep North Caro­lina Resid­ents Safe in Novem­ber Center for Amer­ican Progress, July 17, 2020.
  • “We are prepar­ing for more than 4.5 million voters to vote in-person or by-mail in this elec­tion…And while we would like to think that coronavirus will be a distant memory by Novem­ber, we must prepare to address linger­ing fears, new social norms, and the possib­il­ity that the virus could reoc­cur season­ally as do influ­enza and other viruses. As elec­tions offi­cials, we must prepare for the worst-case scen­ario to ensure that voters are able to cast their ballots.” State Board CARES Act request and legis­lat­ive recom­mend­a­tions update North Caro­lina State Board of Elec­tions, April 22, 2020 

Ohio

Aaron Ocker­man, Exec­ut­ive Director, Ohio Asso­ci­ation of Elec­tion Offi­cials  

LaVera Scott, Director, Lucas County Board of Elec­tions 

Sherry Poland, Director of Elec­tions, Hamilton County Board of Elec­tions 

Michelle Wilcox, Director, Augla­ize County Board of Elec­tions 

  • “We already used Novem­ber’s elec­tion money for March,” Wilcox said, refer­ring to the state’s all-mail primary. County offi­cials still could cut spend­ing 20 percent, she said, but “I’m not buying for Novem­ber yet.” From 47 Primar­ies, 4 Warn­ing Signs About the 2020 Vote New York Times, June 27, 2020

Tonya Wich­man, Elec­tions Director, Defi­ance County Board of Elec­tions

  • "Now we are facing signi­fic­ant costs asso­ci­ated with the supplies, post­age and staff­ing that were neces­sary to meet the demand for absentee ballots for the April 28 primary.We’re coordin­at­ing with our local board of elec­tions, county commis­sion­ers and the state to figure out how to pay for this “new” elec­tion, but we know that federal fund­ing will be crit­ical to our abil­ity to hold a general elec­tion that’s safe for voters and poll work­ers and that’s of the qual­ity our demo­cracy depends on. That’s true not only in Defi­ance County, but in juris­dic­tions across Ohio and the nation, none of which are immune to the finan­cial crises facing the coun­try right now. Column: Elec­tion boards face huge, costly task in Novem­ber Dispatch, May 22, 2020

Oklahoma

Pam Slater, Assist­ant Secret­ary, Oklahoma State Elec­tion Board 

  • The required match is why Oklahoma asked for half of the $5.4 million it was entitled to. “We didn’t have it,” said Pam Slater, assist­ant secret­ary of the State Elec­tion Board. If the match had been 5%, Slater said, a request for the full amount might have been work­able. “Would we have loved to be able to ask for the whole thing?” she said. “Sure, but we were lucky to be able to ask for a portion of it.” As Trump and Biden battle, elec­tion offi­cials are running out of time, money for Novem­ber USA Today, July 14, 2020 

Pennsylvania

Kevin S. Barnhardt, Commis­sioner, Berks County  

  • Barnhardt said paying for addi­tional mater­i­als, includ­ing PPE and clean­ing supplies, would be pricey, enough to finan­cially cripple some counties. “It’s not a budgeted item,” he said. “We didn’t anti­cip­ate a virus.”…Accord­ing to [Barnhardt], changes made to the 2020 primary cost the county an extra $350,000. Although the money was provided through the federal CARES Act, the county only received a total of #388,000. Coronavirus creates costly elec­tions, but Berks offi­cials are hope­ful finan­cial help will continue Read­ing Eagle, July 16, 2020 

Jeff Green­burg, Director, Mercer County Voter Regis­tra­tion and Elec­tion Bureau 

Lisa Deeley, Chair, Phil­adelphia City Commis­sion­ers 

Nick Custodio, Deputy Commis­sioner, Phil­adelphia City Commis­sion­ers 


Tennesse

Jason Booher, Admin­is­trator of Elec­tions, Sulli­van County  

Julia Bruck, Spokes­wo­man, Tennessee Secret­ary of State  


Utah

Ricky Hatch, County Clerk/Auditor, Weber County  

  • “My elec­tion team is three full-time employ­ees, and we have 110,000 active registered voters and a popu­la­tion of 260,000. That puts us in the top 10 percent of the largest counties in the nation,” Hatch said. “We anti­cip­ate about $1 per voter in addi­tional costs because of the pandemic. We need help with this pandemic and we are begging Congress to let us choose how we use these unique resources. Counties need the assist­ance directly to make sure it does not get stuck in bureau­cratic red tape and is spent well.” Ensur­ing Safe and Secure Elec­tions in 2020 During a Pandemic R Street, May 6, 2020 

Virginia

Dianna Moor­man, Director of Elec­tions, James City County  


Wash­ing­ton 

Kim Wyman, Wash­ing­ton Secret­ary of State  

Wash­ing­ton Secret­ary of State Kim Wyman co-authored an op-ed with U.S. Senator Chris­topher Coons from Delaware in June. It reads:  “We’re push­ing to include more fund­ing and direc­tion in the fourth stim­u­lus pack­age, so states can get the help they need and give every Amer­ican a safe way to vote this fall…We want to be clear: We are not advoc­at­ing for a federal takeover of state-run elec­tions. In fact, we’re advoc­at­ing for the oppos­ite: federal support to help states continue to run their own elec­tions safely and effi­ciently.” To safe­guard our elec­tions, Demo­crats and Repub­lic­ans must work together Hill, June 30, 2020 


West Virginia

Kent Carper, Commis­sion Pres­id­ent, Kanawha County Commis­sion 

Mac Warner, Virginia Secret­ary of State  


Wiscon­sin

Barbara Goeck­ner, Deputy Clerk, Cambridge County 


Addi­tional Mater­i­als

Inter­view with Pennsylvani­a’s chief elec­tion offi­cials: Last Chance to Secure the 2020 Elec­tions, Bren­nan Center for Justice, July 27, 2020

Video: Elec­tion Offi­cials have a message for Congress, Bren­nan Center for Justice, July 21, 2020 

Inter­view 3: Consid­er­a­tions for CARES Act Grant Fund­ing Use at the Local Level U.S. Elec­tion Assist­ance Commis­sion, May 21, 2020