2018-19 state budget proposal includes major funding to improve California election security
In a major departure from his previous budgets, California Governor Jerry Brown's new state budget includes $134.3 million to fund new voting equipment.
"This is a welcome development and will help build California voters' confidence in the integrity and security of our voting systems," said Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation, which has consistently supported increased state funding to help pay for California's election costs since 2013.
Since taking office in 2011, Governor Brown has repeatedly suspended funding for mandated election programs in state budgets. While that policy is likely to continue, the addition of $134.3 million to the budget to help pay up to 50 percent of counties' costs to acquire updated voting equipment respresents a signficant influx of election-related funding to counties.
The news was also welcomed by Dean Logan, Los Angeles County's Registrar of Voters and President of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials. In a statement, Mr. Logan said:
"It is a significant move in the right direction for the state to begin funding critical infrastructure for secure, transparent elections in California.
"It is incumbent upon counties and election officials to provide the electorate with options for voting that are responsive to voter behavior and advancements in technology. At the same time, we must be diligent and adaptive in responding to security threats and the need to appropriately protect voter data."
CVF also applauds the leadership of California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who has championed the need for increased funding for elections since taking office in 2015. Secretary of State Padilla issued a news release applauding this budget news, and said:
"Governor Brown is once again leading the way. This is an essential and timely investment in our democracy. Aging voting systems are one of the gravest threats to the integrity of our elections.
"It has been over 15 years since Congress approved significant funding for voting systems to help improve election administration. We have a responsibility to modernize our voting equipment to ensure the security of our elections, to expand voting opportunities, and to improve disability and language access. Governor Brown clearly understands that an investment in voting systems is an investment in the voter experience and the health of our democracy."
Language relating to voting equipment funding appears on page 121 of Governor Brown's proposed budget summary.
CVF will be monitoring the state budget process and will keep CVF-News subscribers informed about this important development.