State News

With the arrival of new federal election funds, state Democrats accuse the governor of inaction

Wisconsin will receive $7 million in federal funding to boost election security measures, as state Democrats celebrate progress on a front they had seen little success on within the state government.

Image By: Jon Yoon and Jon Yoon

After failing to get their proposals for increased election security measures passed in the state Legislature, Democrats are celebrating the arrival of new federal funds to support state electoral administration.

In the wake of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Congress approved the Help America Vote Act last month, appropriating $380 million to states to improve election security.

“While we are thankful, it is not missed that IF we had not gotten the grant from the Federal government THEN we would have entered another statewide November election without the staff needed to support our election security,” said state Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, and Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, in a joint statement. “Ironically, the Federal government sees the threat to democracy in Wisconsin as more important than Republican policymakers in our own state.”

Prior to the approval of the new funds, the state Elections Commission had asked the Legislature to boost the agency’s staff numbers, but the Joint Finance Committee did not approve the request in the most recent state budget.

“Supporting our local clerks to make sure our election officials are well trained, know how to detect deceit, and to maintain secure and fair elections should be our highest priority as a democracy,” Taylor and Erpenbach said in the release. “We are lucky someone stepped in to support our election integrity. It is just a shame it was not the Governor or the Republican legislative majority elected to govern this state.”

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