United States  

Funding crunch risks U.S. election chaos

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 01:44s - Published
Funding crunch risks U.S. election chaos

Funding crunch risks U.S. election chaos

[NFA] State election officials face budget cuts after tax revenues plunged in the virus-stricken economy, with consequences that could undermine voters’ faith in the polls.

This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

In Michigan, a town wants machines to help count absentee ballots.

Officials in Ohio want protective gear at polling sites so voters and poll workers feel safe.

In Georgia, officials want to send voters forms so they can request absentee ballots more easily.

But in all three states, the money isn't there to make it happen.

Presidential nominating contests held this year in states from Wisconsin to Georgia have exposed massive challenges in conducting elections during the worst public health crisis in a century.

Closed or understaffed polling venues led to long lines.

There were problems delivering absentee ballots.

And the votes took days, even weeks, to count.

But instead of receiving more money, officials face budget cuts after tax revenues plunged in the virus-stricken economy.

Officials have to buy masks, face shields and other equipment to virus-proof polling places.

They also must spend more to mail and count ballots.

But many officials say they don’t have the funding to do either job properly.

One Georgia county election supervisor told Reuters, “if Congress doesn’t act we are going to see epic failure once again." Election experts say Americans are likely to vote in record numbers in November.

Congress did approve $400 million in federal funding to help states hold the elections as part of a coronavirus aid package passed in March.

Experts at New York University say that’s just one-tenth of the whopping $4 billion that will be needed.

A fresh coronavirus aid bill passed in May in the Democratic-led House of Representatives includes $3.6 billion in new election funding.

Trump and his Republican allies have claimed, without evidence, that voting by mail is prone to fraud, and the bill has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate.

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