Media Contact: Christine Glunz, 202.225.3072
Washington, DC – On the eve of the California recall election, the California Democratic Congressional Delegation and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer sent a letter to President Bush asking his Administration to secure full funding for implementation of the bi-partisan “Help America Vote Act” (HAVA) to ensure that every vote is counted in every election. The text of the letter is below:
“As members of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation, we are writing to share our disappointment with your Administration's lack of leadership in championing full funding for implementation of the bi-partisan "Help America Vote Act" (HAVA).
“It was clear to our nation after the 2000 Presidential election that we needed to update our voting systems to ensure that every vote is counted in every election. In addition, our state is currently under a 2001 federal court consent decree that punch card voting machines can no longer be used in California elections as of March 1, 2004.
“Our states' ability to replace these outdated voting technologies, and conduct future elections that are fair to all California voters, depends in large part on having the federal funds available to upgrade them. Under HAVA, our state and local election officials are due to receive approximately $425 million to replace and upgrade its voting technology. Currently, California has only received one-fifth of these funds. In a state of more than 34 million people, this is not nearly enough in federal assistance to comply with the HAVA requirements.
“Nationally, $1.86 billion is needed to fulfill the promise made to states to update and replace outdated voting machines and bring justice to the democratic process. Mr. President, this is less than 3% of the $87 billion you recently requested to bring democracy to foreign soil in Iraq and Afghanistan. Your own budget, submitted earlier this year, only requested $500 million to update America's own election technologies.
“Our state and local election officials are working hard to meet the requirements of HAVA. This Administration's underfunding of this program sends the wrong message to our election officials and California voters. Your leadership is crucial in order to secure the full amount Congress intended for California and other states when it passed HAVA. We call upon you to demonstrate leadership, and make HAVA a priority for this Administration, by working to secure the full $1.86 billion needed to implement it.”