HAVA heart, release the funds!

Washington already has doled out the money, with $4 million sitting in a North Carolina account. But to access this care package, the state has to put up $660,000 of its own. A no-brainer?

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/02/08/1837744/hot-but-smooth.html#story...

A no-brainer? Sure seems like it.

The federal government requires that the states maintain their core budgets at no less than the 2000 level minimums, or the maintenance of effort (MOE) level of funding.

Read more: Sanford Herald - LETTER HAVA funds should be released

This provision keeps you from intentionally undercutting your budget, so that the funds are actually used to increase election integrity, instead of completely drained to replace an operating budget for a cycle or two.

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 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.

Read more here: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2012/02/06/county-officials-call-on-legis...

This is a bipartisan effort. Many rural cash-strapped counties are in the greatest need.

We need your help to tell your state legislators you want the NC General Assembly to release the HAVA funds and run a clean, fair, and transparent election process.

Read more at: The NC Conservation Network

So do something about it. The NC Conservation Network link has an e-mail your legislator function. There will also be efforts to push for releasing the funds at the HKonJ march this Saturday, and the rally on the 16th when the General Assembly comes back into session.

Some are quick to accuse the General Assembly of playing politics, rather than working to ensure a fair and democratic process with the upcoming elections. I'm not so sure. I think there is just a lack of awareness out there about the importance of HAVA funds, especially for a big election year, among the general public and General Assembly. There is a bipartisan list of county officials calling on these funds to be released. And there are a good number of elected officials who joined the General Assembly in 2010, and maybe haven't experienced budgeting for a high turn out presidential election year yet.

I genuinely believe there is room for bipartisan/nonpartisan support for fair elections, with well-functioning equipment, well-trained poll workers, and enough early voting sites to avoid huge lines during a high turnout election year. Right, left, center, or otherwise, I think most people get into politics, in part, because they believe in our democratic system. I think we just need to raise awareness, spread the word, and advocate for the release of these funds. We can start by contacting our legislators, and attending the marches/rallies previously mentioned.

Comments

Will you take action?

Will you attend a rally or march, send a message to your legislators, write a letter to the editor yourself, or share links about the HAVA funds issue on your facebook or twitter?

Do you have any other ideas on how to raise awareness?

Maybe they want to use the funds for Photo ID's.

As soon as they have enough votes to over ride Perdue's veto.

Whatever they want to use the funds for

they have to access them first by maintaining their past level of funding. And it's not like 2012 is going to see a drastic drop in voter turnout compared to past elections. So maintenance isn't that big of an ask.

While I'm no fan of the Photo ID bill, especially written as restrictively as it is, it would be even worse for it to pass, and then be improperly funded to the point that the poorest of North Carolinians are hit even harder by difficulty accessing a proper ID. If the Photo ID bill passes, it's going to cost a lot of money to make sure everyone is educated on the new law, and that everyone gets a free state-provided ID.

This is yet another area and reason why I think there can be bipartisan support for HAVA funds being released.

The GOP legislature refuses an immediate ROI of 600%?

And they portray themselves as smart business-types?

Why isn't this as big of a story as the GOP governors that were sending back transportation money to DC?

 

Good point!

And they portray themselves as smart business-types?

Good point!

It's only as big of a story as we can make it. So lets get to making it a big story!

I wonder if WRAL's Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie will cover it?

This is an achievable victory

A point I want to emphasize about this subject, is that this is an achievable victory. While there are many long-term battles ahead of us for at least the next decade until redistricting happens again for how we might want to shape the future of NC, it is important to keep our sanity by winning some short term victories too. The releasing of HAVA funds is just such an achievable victory.

Decisions are being made now

I'd also add that County BOEs across the state are making their early voting plans for the general election over the next few months, and many have already made their primary voting plans.

There is a time sensitive element to getting these HAVA funds released if we want them to be used as effectively as possible.

Another thing folks can do is call up their county boards of election, find out when their open-to-the-public meetings are happening, and go by yourself or with a few friends to encourage them to have early voting sites, weekend hours, evening hours, Sunday voting, on campus voting for towns with colleges, or whatever else your community needs in terms of voting accommodations. Board of Elections can only make decisions as effective as the information they are provided by the community. Be a part of that. Or even just go to listen in so you can be an informed voter early on, and help spread the information about what their plans are.

Look up their number here, and call and ask when their next few meetings are:
http://www.ncsbe.gov/content.aspx?id=13

I can tell you from personal

I can tell you from personal experience that budget cuts directly impact the ability to have additional one stop sites as well as longer hours. Boards of Election have little discretionary monies because there are fixed costs such as ballot printing, advertising, etc that cannot be controlled and are required by law. Consequently when monies are cut, it is places like additional sites and longer hours that get cut first. While I believe the HAVA money is important to help in funding those additional sites, it is incumbent upon all of us who are community activists to keep voters informed, to help them get to the polls, help them get photo id's if God forbid they are able to override the veto and implement that. It is up to us to encourage voters to stay NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES, or to provide information on how to request an absentee ballot if unable to go to the polls or wait for long periods of time. Every voter CAN VOTE in spite of efforts to suppress the vote! We just have to make sure every voter knows that!

Right on! + Thank you!!!

First off, I wanted to say right on to the comment about working to increase voter turnout no matter what the situation is.

Secondly, I wanted to say a big and heartfelt thank you for your courage in opposing the amendment even at the cost of your position as an Elections Director.

Thanks Jake but its never

Thanks Jake but its never been about me but about raising awareness of the discriminatory impact of this amendment!

More importantly
they can only suppress our vote if we let them!!!

Washington State passes marriage equality

Speaking of marriage equality, though we are struggling to keep basic rights in place here in NC, equality is being won across the country. California's Prop 8 was just found unconstitutional in the 9th circuit recently, and tonight Washington State passed marriage equality.

http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2012/02/08/Marriage_Ready_for_Si...

And it looks like the Governor is excited to sign it early next week:

Heart Theme

At HKonJ be on the look out for heart shaped signs. The HAVA Heart, release the funds signs should be there in force. Between valentines day coming up, the amendment, and this HAVA Heart campaign, there is kind of a heart theme going around. If you want to help carry one, look out for people holding them around the McDonalds area near Shaw University on Saturday between 9:30 am to 10 am.

For anyone who wants

to know a lot more on HAVA read up here, here, and of course here.

And here is printable flyer if one was inclined to distribute it at any local meetings or with groups they belong to.