Friday, June 3, 2005

California receives election money held up during investigation

Kudos to Secretary of State Bruce McPherson for securing $169 million in federal Help America Vote Act funds for California. The Secretary of State issued a news release about the Election Assistance Commission's decision, and Jennifer Coleman's Associated Press article features more details on the EAC's decision yesterday.



The federal agency that oversees election preparations will release nearly $170 million to California that was potentially in jeopardy because of questions over how federal money was spent under former Secretary of State Kevin Shelley.

Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, Shelley's replacement, and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission publicly announced the release of the $169.7 million on Thursday.

The move followed a visit McPherson paid to the commission last month to lobby for the money — California's 2004 share of some $3 billion being sent to states under the Help America Vote Act to upgrade voting equipment and procedures.

Most of the money — $128.6 million — will go to counties to improve voting systems, McPherson said. That includes adding a paper trail to electronic voting systems, as required by a new state law.

More than $31 million will be used for a statewide voter registration database, while $6.8 million will be spent to educate county poll workers, he said.

"Without confidence in the election process, voter turnout suffers," McPherson said at a Capitol news conference. "And when turnout suffers, democracy suffers."

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