by Dr. Andy Jackson
Director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity, John Locke Foundation
A Republican election official and a Democratic election official have asked the General Assembly to release election security funds that Congress has already appropriated for North Carolina (Charlotte Observer):
Fortunately, federal funds under the bipartisan 2020 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) have already been sent to North Carolina to finance this effort. But those funds must be released (appropriated) in the state budget that legislators are now debating…
By appropriating HAVA funds, state legislators will provide money for projects they’ve requested. For example, $500,000 will allow North Carolina to join a majority of other states in a national list maintenance system to remove ineligible voters and improve the integrity of registration files. Another $275,000 would establish an online portal that allows voters to securely request ballots and helps voters with disabilities.
The threats to our election system from foreign agents and domestic hackers are real and well documented. We can’t afford to wait another year to address challenges.
I wrote earlier this year about why North Carolina would benefit from joining the ERIC national voter list maintenance system.
This is not just a North Carolina issue; only about 1/3 of the funds Congress provided states for election security in 2020 were spent by the states before the 2020 general election.
While there is no deadline to spend the federal election security money, there is a pressing need to make North Carolina’s elections more secure. The General Assembly should release the election security funds to help make that happen.