Washington, D.C. — A new analysis from the Center for American Progress takes a novel approach to show why states need more election funds to upgrade infrastructure and preserve democracy. It debunks the most common myths that have been used to make the case against federal assistance for elections.
It provides new data and analysis to encourage lawmakers to come the table during legislative processes – including the appropriations process – with a more thorough understanding of how states have spent federal election assistance. The analysis also argues that election officials should receive continuous funding, as opposed to the inconsistent and haphazard process that exists now.
“What states need is a significant and annual stream of federal funding,” said Greta Bedekovics, associate director of Democracy Policy at CAP and author of the analysis. “This would allow them to plan and budget for their elections needs, as well as upgrade, and gradually modernize, the current election infrastructure.”
Myth 1: States have not spent significant amounts of the 2018 and 2020 federal election funding they have received.
Fact: Many states have spent all or significant portions of the grants they received in 2018; therefore, many states are now relying almost solely on 2020 funding.
Myth 2: Some states have spent none or very little of their election grants, indicating they do not need federal assistance for elections.
Fact: There are many compelling reasons as to why some states have not spent all their funding, including the fact that much of the funds are already obligated but not yet spent.
Myth 3: States do not need funding to improve election security because the 2020 election was the most secure in history.
Fact: The 2020 election was indeed the most secure in history, but states need funding to keep pace with technology and keep improving security.
Myth 4: Federal election grants are bankrolling elections on the federal government’s tab.
Fact: The federal funding that states have received covers only a small portion of their needs. Some states are depleting state accounts and taking on millions of dollars in debt trying to secure and modernize elections.
Myth 5: Federal election grants mostly benefit blue states, which is why state and congressional Democrats continue to advocate for more election funding.
Fact: Overall, red states have outspent blue states, and many red and purple states are among the states that have spent the most of their election grants.
Read the analysis: “U.S. Election Funding: 5 Myths Debunked” by Greta Bedekovics
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