MCF Encourages Full Release of Federal Election Security Dollars

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

In March 2018, President Trump signed a federal omnibus spending bill that included $380 million for election security. From this money, Minnesota should received a grant of nearly $6.6 million in federal dollars for election security. Unlike many states, Secretary of State Simon’s office has been unable to access this money without action from the state legislature. Last year, these dollars were not released to the Secretary of State's office because the dollars were included in the vetoed omnibus supplemental budget bill. As a result, MN is now the only state that hasn't started to access these funds in the nation. Early in the 2019 legislative session, these federal election security dollars were expected to be an easy, early bipartisan win for the session.

Unfortunately, providing the Secretary of State access to these funds has been delayed and is becoming contentious. The Minnesota House voted on and passed a bill last week to provide the Secretary's office with access to these funds, but the MN Senate has delayed action on these dollars. On February 26th, the Senate State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee held a hearing on these dollars but opted to keep the hearing informational rather than moving it out of committee. MinnPost reports that the fact that these dollars have become controversial this isn't a good sign for the rest of the legislative session. 

MCF submitted written testimony encouraging the Senate State Government Committee to release the election security funds in full. MCF supports policies that strengthen democratic institutions and civic engagement, including advocating for policies that promote voter access and confidence in our voting systems. We support investments to upgrade and modernize the state’s voter registration database, security upgrades and permanent systems reforms to county cyberattacks, and modernization reforms such at automatic voter registration to make registration both easier for all and secure and accurate. We have more information about our positions and thoughts about how Minnesota can keep its place as a leader in civic engagement here: https://mcf.org/news/putting-minnesota-back-top-voter-access  

 

 

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