Press releases

Dozens of bipartisan election officials, former members of Congress, and government officials call on Congress to fund our elections

New poll also finds overwhelming bipartisan agreement that the federal government should do more to fund elections

Media Contact

Cory Combs

Director of Media Relations

More than three dozen bipartisan election officials, former members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries, and national security leaders have joined together to urgently call on Congress to adequately fund U.S. election security this year in advance of the 2024 elections. The request comes as Issue One announces the release of a new national poll showing that Americans across party lines agree that the federal government should be more responsible for election funding.

In two new letters addressed to Congress, members of Issue One’s bipartisan National Council on Election Integrity (NCEI) and Faces of Democracy, a prominent group of current and former election officials and poll workers from across the country, urged lawmakers to “meet the moment and provide funding that will improve the security of our election system in the face of growing threats.” Both letters request at least $400 million in new funding for FY2024.

Participants include Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, former West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, former Denver, Colorado Director of Elections Amber McReynolds, Maricopa County, Arizona Supervisor Bill Gates, Ottawa County, Michigan Clerk Justin Roebuck, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Bill Owens, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), former Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Tim Wirth (D-CO), former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO), former Reps. Charles Boustany (R-LA), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Steve Gunderson (R-WI), Jane Harman (D-CA), Susan Molinari (R-NY), Connie Morella (R-MD), Amb. Tim Roemer (D-IN), and Zach Wamp (R-TN).

Conducted by Citizen Data, the new Issue One poll found that 7 in 10 Americans, including 66% of Republicans and 74% Democrats, believe that the federal government should be equally, if not more, responsible than local municipalities and states when it comes to ensuring that our elections are properly funded.

“Congress has a Constitutional duty to secure federal elections, and the American people overwhelmingly support appropriating federal funds to do so,” members of the NCEI wrote. “Foreign and domestic bad actors have demonstrated the capacity to cast doubt on the legitimacy of a safe and secure election through advanced AI-fueled disinformation, cyber attacks on registration systems, malign finance operations, and targeting of electrical systems during critical voting or tabulation periods. The lack of adequate federal funding to match the cyber threat has left our election system at increasing risk.”

In their request to Congress, election officials, including members of the Faces of Democracy campaign, argued that “running an election is not an every two or four year job. Nor is it a 9 to 5 job. As one County Clerk and Recorder from Colorado recently stated, overseeing elections ‘is a seven-days-a-week kind of responsibility.’ We are proud to shoulder that responsibility. But today that responsibility carries with it a set of tasks and threats that simply did not exist twenty years ago. Those threats require a concerted response from every level of our government.”

Their letter goes on to state:

“Election officials now must counter mis- and disinformation about election processes on a bewildering array of news and social media platforms. We must adapt to changing state laws, implement federal mandates, and react to disruptive weather conditions. We must prepare for cyber attacks using outdated hardware and software, harden our buildings and sometimes personal homes against threats of violence, and respond to endless streams of information requests. We must also carry out our core responsibilities of registering voters, hiring poll workers, setting up and running polling places, processing and counting ballots, and certifying and auditing results.

“State and local governments have long taken the lead in administering and paying for elections in the United States, but Congress has both a constitutional role and a responsibility to protect the security of federal elections. The American people, on a bipartisan basis, believe that the federal government should fund elections.”

“We cannot be the beacon of democracy if our Congress fails to fund our country’s election infrastructure,” said Dokhi Fassihian, Issue One’s Deputy Chief of Strategy and Program. “Our country’s election officials have spoken loudly and clearly. The dramatic rise in election costs, combined with Issue One’s new polling, demonstrate the need for increased regular funding of elections by the federal government. There is no more important matter before lawmakers as we prepare for the 2024 elections.”

Last month, Issue One and the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund published a new report calling for significant election investments and reforms, noting the persistent lack of sufficient federal funding for local and state election administration. “Our election infrastructure is chronically underfunded, forcing creative election officials to scramble every year to run safe, smooth, and secure elections. Ensuring robust annual appropriations for election funding is a critical step to help state and local election officials meet basic modernization, staffing, and security needs,” the report stated.

Read the NCEI’s funding request to Congress here, and the election officials letter here.

The full polling memo is also available here.