By Erica Werner, Associated Press, May 12, 2004
WASHINGTON — Members of a new federal voting commission appealed to Congress Wednesday to double their budget, arguing that the extra cash would allow them to help states run more efficient elections.
"We've promulgated no rules. We've worked hard to get stationery, office space, business cards. We've had one public hearing," DeForest B. Soaries, chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, told a House Appropriations subcommittee.
About $650 million already has been provided to states. The money is from $3.86 billion authorized in the Help America Vote Act.
Rep. John Olver, D-Mass., expressed surprise that the commission planned to distribute the money without having conducted research on voting system guidelines.
"We're going to distribute $2.3 billion to them now and we haven't done a bit of the research, none of the research, that would have helped them make the best possible decision?" Olver said.
"That's an accurate description," Soaries said.
"I don't know what else to say," Olver said.
"Welcome to our world," Soaries replied.