LCCR letter re: Appropriation of Remaining HAVA Funding

Categories: Advocacy Letter

Recipient: Senate

Make Election Reform a Reality


March 27, 2003

Dear Member of Congress,

We, the undersigned organizations, urge you to appropriate the remaining funds in the fiscal year 2003 supplemental appropriations process necessary to fully fund the “Help America Vote Act” (P.L. 107-252). The “Help America Vote Act” authorizes a total of $3.9 billion over three fiscal years to help states and local governments fix their broken electoral systems, and passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support in both houses of Congress. Recently, Congress made a significant down payment to help this reform begin to take place when it appropriated $1.5 billion out of the approximately $2.16 billion that has been authorized for FY03. Now it is essential that Congress follow through completely on its commitment to making election reform a reality by providing the remaining funds that states and local governments nationwide so urgently need.

Immediate full funding is essential to enable states and local governments to complete the implementation of these critical reforms now required by law. Given the extremely difficult fiscal circumstances facing state and local governments, strong support at the federal level is critical. If our nation is to ensure that every American can vote and have that vote counted on election day, then it is imperative that Congress fulfill its role in providing the full funding necessary to make this possible.

In the next several months, most state legislatures will already have completed their budgets for FY 2004. Almost half of the states will also have made their spending decisions for FY 2005. Therefore, we strongly urge you to provide the necessary funding to support the states and local governments in implementing these vital improvements without delay.

Nothing is more fundamental to America’s democracy than the right to vote. As our nation spends billions of dollars helping to promote democracies abroad, Congress must also meet the challenge of bolstering our own democracy by appropriating the funds that are essential to allow states to transform their voting systems. In passing the “Help America Vote Act,” Congress called upon the states and local governments to make polling places accessible to people with disabilities and language minorities; create statewide voter registration databases that can be more effectively managed and updated; improve ballot review procedures by allowing voters to ensure that the ballots they cast are accurate; create provisional balloting systems to guarantee that no eligible voter is ever turned away at the polls; replace outdated voting systems; and educate voters on voting procedures as well as their rights.

We thank you for your work to secure implementation of the “Help America Vote Act,” and we look forward to working with you to ensure full funding. Should you have any questions about this critical issue, please feel free to contact any of the organizations listed below.

Sincerely,

Organizations Representing State & Local Officials

National Association of Secretaries of State
National Conference of State Legislatures
Council of State Governments
National Association of State Election Directors
National Association of Counties
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials
International City/County Management Association
International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers

Civil Rights Organizations

AARP
Alliance for Retired Americans
American Association of People with Disabilities
American Civil Liberties Union
American Federation of Labor ? Congress of Industrial Organizations
Americans for Democratic Action
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism
Common Cause
Demos: A Network for Ideas & Action
DemocracyWorks
General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
League of Women Voters of the United States
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems
National Council of La Raza
National Mental Health Association
New York Public Interest Research Group
Organization of Chinese Americans
Paralyzed Veterans of America
People For the American Way
Project Vote
Public Citizen
United States Student Association
USAction Education Fund
U.S. Public Interest Research Group