County officials call on legislative leaders to release federal election funds

Election officials from more than 85 counties have sent a letter to legislative leaders urging them to release $4 million designated for improving the administration of the 2012 elections.

The funds come from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 and are already in a NC bank account. But as the folks at Democracy North Carolina have pointed out, the General Assembly must appropriate an additional $660,000 to the State Board of Election to meet certain federal guidelines before the final $4 million can be spent.

The bipartisan group of election officials note in their letter that given the large voter turnout this fall, the new district lines, and split precincts, the federal HAVA funds are needed for poll worker training, the testing of voting equipment, and other technical support needs.

You can read the full letter to Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger here.

If the funds are not appropriated, State Board of Elections executive director Gary Bartlett has said counties would likely be forced to operate 100 fewer early voting sites than were available in 2008.

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