Secretary of State Brewer Applauds President Bushs
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In what is being called the best election news possible for elections and voters, Secretary of State Jan Brewer praised President George W. Bush for signing H.J. Resolution 2, the Fiscal Year 2003 consolidated appropriations resolution. This omnibus bill specifically contains $1.5 billion dollars to fund activities related to the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) including as much as $58 million for the state of Arizona.
"Arizonans deserve to have their votes counted accurately," said Secretary Brewer. "This funding will go a long way in helping Arizona upgrade our state election system to be one of the best in the nation."
The new funding bill also includes much needed dollars to help reimburse states for election equipment improvements.
"Since taking office, Ive made it a priority to move forward with the replacement of these antiquated punch card systems within the next two years," said Secretary Brewer, "thats a tough goal, but its just so important that we get updated equipment that will help ensure our election results are done accurately." Here in Arizona, 9 out of 15 counties still use similar punch card voting systems to those used in the state of Florida during the 2000 Presidential Election.
Though last years HAVA bill called for nearly $2.5 billion in election reform aid to assist states centralize their voter registration systems and assist with voter education and poll worker training, the $1.5 billion was welcome news from the 50 Chief Election Officers. "I recognize that it took a bipartisan commitment to make sure Arizona -- and all other states -- would not be left footing the whole bill on new federal election reform mandates," said Secretary Brewer.
Secretary Brewer recently appointed a 25-member State Planning Committee to specifically help offer recommendations on how Arizona can meet the new HAVA law. "Certainly, our State Planning Committee can move forward on its mission in a proactive manner without wondering whether federal aid would be made available."
A condition of receiving the federal funds, each state legislature is required to put forward a small percentage of matching funds. To that end, Secretary Brewer has met with Governor Napolitano and leaders of the state legislature in an effort to meet this requirement.
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