Michigan clerks ask Congress for more election funding for safe, secure voting

In June, $46 million was added to the Fiscal Year 2024 budget to implement the amendment known as Proposal 2
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 5:29 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Clerks across the United States are urging lawmakers to dish out more dollars to support local elections. They said Congress needs to make long overdue investments to ensure elections are safe and secure.

Outdated voting machines, glitchy ballot tabulators, and a lack of security for poll workers. The U.S. Senate is being asked to put up at least $400 million to make sure these issues don’t happen in future elections. Why? Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum said it’s because “voters wanted access to the ballot box a minimum of nine days of early voting and it’s incumbent upon the clerks, and their funding sources, to support that.”

Clerk Byrum said “We’re focused on the implementation of Proposal 2” but the legislature saw fit to allocate tens of thousands of dollars less than what election administrators asked for. According to her, more funding means better voting machines to improve the voting experience and that clerks can make sure votes, and voters, are safe.

“Nine days of early voting is going to require more staffing and more technology, more systems, more computers, more tabulators,” Byrum said Ingham County is in good shape, but she worries about local clerks.

In a statement sent to News 10, Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope said:

“To guarantee a secure, safe election, we must ensure that we have proper federal funding. I urge the U.S. Senate to put at least $400 million for critical investment.”

Swope went on to say:

“Local election administrators are grappling with immense challenges to hold safe, secure, and modern elections. They have repeatedly sounded the alarm about the dire state of our election infrastructure—from outdated voting machines and glitchy ballot tabulation machines to a lack of security for mounting threats against poll workers—and remain steadfast in their call for $400 million in critical investments for fiscal year 2024.

President Biden called on Congress to provide at least $5 billion over 10 years in election administration funding. Failing to do so will put voter confidence in our elections at risk, while leaving poll workers and election volunteers vulnerable to threats and intimidation. $400 million is the bare minimum.

Instead, House Republicans zeroed out election infrastructure funding against the Chris Swope Lansing City Clerk wishes of elections administrators on both sides of the aisle. The health of our elections now hinges on the Senate’s leadership to make long overdue investments in election infrastructure, ensuring safe, secure, and modern elections for all Americans. We urge senators to do what is needed to secure our elections and ensure every vote is counted.”

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson joins Swope and other clerks in asking Congress for more election funding.

“We have seen voters choose to, alongside our election officials, stand and work and defend that fundamental right to vote and that baseline for who we are as Americans,” said Benson.

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