For Immediate Release: 
October 2, 2003
Contact Info: 
Stacey Farnen

WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD); Maryland Delegate Sheila Hixson of the National Conference of State Legislatures; New Haven (CT) Mayor John DeStefano of the National League of Cities; New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron, President Elect of the National Association of Secretaries of State; Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan of the National Association of Counties; and BJ Thornberry, Exec. Director of the Democratic Governors’ Association met today to discuss various issues including the need for immediate federal funding for election reform.  The group released the following statement following their meeting:

“It is imperative that Congress fully fund the Help America Vote Act by including $1.86 billion in the supplemental appropriations bill for Iraq and Afghanistan that is currently pending before Congress.  States and localities strongly desire to reform and improve their election systems, but they need the funds promised by Congress last year if they are to make significant progress in time for the 2004 election.

“States and localities are facing major fiscal crises, making federal funding more essential than ever.  In addition, the California recall election demonstrated that many localities continue to use outdated voting machines that are vulnerable to high error rates and could undermine voter confidence.

“The vote is the basis of our democracy, and if our citizens do not have confidence that their vote will count equally it will do irreparable harm to our democratic system.  At a time that we are spending billions of dollars abroad to promote democracy, we cannot allow our own democratic system to falter.”