HOYER, NEY ANNOUNCE ELECTION REFORM FUNDING EFFORT

Election Reform Leaders Request $1.86 Billion in Supplemental

For Immediate Release:

September 17, 2003

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON D.C. - House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and House Administration Committee Chairman Bob Ney met today with the Honorable Mary Kiffmeyer, President of the National Association of Secretaries of State, to discuss their intention to seek $1.86 billion in funding for the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).  Congressman Hoyer released the following statement following the meeting:

“Chairman Ney and I have sent a letter to Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Congressional leaders to request that $1.86 billion in election reform funding be included in one of the supplemental spending measures currently being considered by Congress [see attached letter].

“Although we were poised to make this request before the recent court ruling regarding the California recall election, that decision has added immediacy to an already urgent matter.

“It is imperative that Congress immediately provide full funding for the Help America Vote Act if we are going to guarantee voters that their votes will count.  Full funding will allow states and localities to better plan and implement the improvements necessary to preventing another debacle like the 2000 presidential election.  The very foundations of our democracy depend on Congress living up to the promise it made in this bill.”

The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was signed into law by President Bush on October 29, 2002.  HAVA authorizes $3.86 billion in spending in fiscal years 2003 through 2005 to help state and local governments update their voting systems, streamline voter registration processes, and provide voter education and poll worker training.  For FY03, $1.5 billion in HAVA funds was appropriated ($660 million less than what HAVA authorized), while the recently passed FY04 Transportation Treasury Appropriations Bill contained $500 million for election reform ($545 million less than what HAVA authorized).  The $1.86 billion being requested is in addition to the $500 million already contained in the FY04 appropriations bills and will fully fund the total authorized amount.

September 15, 2003

The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
Speaker
United States House of Representatives
H232 Capitol
Washington, DC 20515-6501

Dear Speaker Hastert,

 We are writing to request that $1.86 billion in election reform funding be included in one of the supplemental spending measures currently being considered by Congress.

 The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (“HAVA”) was signed into law by President Bush on October 29, 2002.  HAVA authorizes $3.86 billion in spending in fiscal years 2003 through 2005 to help state and local governments update their voting systems, streamline voter registration processes, and provide voter education and poll worker training.  For FY03, $1.5 billion in HAVA funds was appropriated ($660 million less than what HAVA authorized), while the recently passed FY04 Transportation Treasury Appropriations Bill contained $500 million for election reform ($545 million less than what HAVA authorized). 

 These amounts constitute important down payments for improving our nation’s election system.  However, to successfully implement the provisions in HAVA, it is essential that states and localities receive greater election funding and that such funds be made available as soon as possible.  Without sufficient funding, the important reforms imposed by the bill will not be realized.  Inclusion of $1.86 billion in the supplemental will fully fund the bill, making additional appropriations next year unnecessary.  It will also help states get into compliance on the schedule required by the bill.

 At a time when we are spending billions of dollars to bring democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan, we strongly believe that the United States also needs to buttress its own democratic institutions by appropriating the full amount authorized by HAVA.  Such spending is necessary to ensure that the world’s greatest democracy has an election system in which its citizens can have confidence and pride and which can serve as a model for nascent democracies throughout the world.

The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
September 15, 2003
Page 2

The 2004 election is just over a year away.  The states urgently need the requested funds to ensure that the upcoming election, as well as future elections, operate smoothly and free of the sorts of problems that served as the impetus for HAVA’s passage.

 We appreciate your consideration of this important matter and look forward to discussing it further with you.

Sincerely,

Bob Ney     Steny Hoyer
Chairman      House Democratic Whip
Committee on
House Administration

cc: The Honorable Tom Delay
cc: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
cc: The Honorable C.W. Bill Young
cc: The Honorable David R. Obey
cc: The Honorable Bill Frist
cc: The Honorable Tom Daschle
cc: The Honorable Ted Stevens
cc: The Honorable Robert C. Byrd

 

 

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