May 11, 2020

Congressman Neguse Introduces New Legislation to Secure U.S. Elections Amidst COVID-19

The legislation would repeal the grant-matching requirement for states to receive election security funding under the CARES Act

Washington D.C.— Today Congressman Joe Neguse announced the introduction of new legislation—the Secure Our Elections Act—which would repeal the matching requirement for payments made to states for election security grants under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to ensure states across the country have the resources they need to secure the 2020 elections. Specifically, the bill would require the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to waive the requirement that states match 20 percent of the $400 million election assistance funds made available to states in the COVID-19 economic stimulus package. The fund match requirement is part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020.

“It is critical that we are prepared as a nation come November to execute a safe, fair and accessible electoral process,” saidCongressman Neguse. “Given the unprecedented strain that has been placed on state budgets amidst COVID-19, removing the match requirement under the CARES Act will ensure our state and local governments do not have to make hard decisions about equipping their communities with needed emergency resources or preparing for the 2020 elections. We simply cannot make states choose between providing critical services during this pandemic or safeguarding our democracy.” 

“As states grapple with the economic fallout of the coronavirus, requiring them to match a portion of election assistance funding received through the CARES Act not only creates yet another financial burden for states but also threatens our democracy,” said Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. “I applaud Representative Neguse for his efforts to ensure states have access to the federal funding they need for free and fair elections without the added challenge of finding resources in state budgets already in crisis.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has added considerable unique challenges to ensuring an accessible, safe and fair electoral process in November,” said Paul Lopez, Clerk and Recorder; Chief Elections Official for the City and County of Denver “As states and local governments are already being tasked with making tough decisions about their budgets, removing the matching requirement for electoral assistance laid out in CARES is critical. We appreciate Congressman Neguse’s efforts on this issue to ensure that state and local governments are equipped and ready to take on the 2020 election process amidst the pandemic and social distancing needs.”

“Many local governments are facing tough budget decisions as a result of COVID-19,” said Molly Fitzpatrick, Boulder County Clerk. “It is absolutely critical that every jurisdiction and every state is equipped to administer the upcoming elections in a fair, safe and accessible way. I’m grateful for Congressman Neguse’s leadership in removing this grant matching requirement and opening up 100% of funds authorized through the CARES Act to safeguard our democracy. We are in this together and we need confidence that our electoral process is funded and protected across America.”

View text of the bill here.