LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson joined local election officials from across the country this week to ask the White House and congressional leaders to allocate a sustained source of federal funding for election infrastructure.
In the request, Benson and others asked for $5 billion for election infrastructure for Fiscal Year 2023 and a total of $20 billion in federal funding over 10 years, to be allocated to states and also directly to local election jurisdictions, according to a news release Thursday.
“Our local election clerks need support now more than ever as they face threats to their lives, attacks on their integrity and insufficient funds to carry out fair and equal elections,” Benson said. “Our state and federal leaders must do more to ensure clerks in Michigan and across the country have the protection and funding they need to ensure our democracy persists.”
The secretary of state added it’s important for lawmakers to hear directly from election officials serving on the front lines of administering our elections.
She’s also planning meetings with state lawmakers here in Michigan, including with House Speaker Jason Wentworth and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey.
As misinformation about the November 2020 election proliferated, threats against clerks in Michigan and across the country increased, along with attempts by state legislatures to cut their resources, according to Benson’s office.
Michigan’s state Legislature hasn’t funded local elections for several years.
However, legislation has been proposed that would bar clerks from accepting support from third parties, including in-kind donations such as the use of schools and churches as polling places, which many clerks say they rely on every election.
“I speak regularly with Republican, Democrat and nonpartisan election clerks about the challenges they are facing and the support they need,” Benson said. “It is critical that state and federal lawmakers hear directly from them about their experiences, and I look forward to continuing to join with local election clerks to urge our state legislators and federal lawmakers to fund our democracy.”