| RON THORNBURGH
Secretary of State
STATE OF KANSAS
|Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612-1594
For Immediate Release
Thursday, January 30, 2003
Jesse Borjon, Communications Director
Office of the Secretary of State
Thornburgh Applauds White House Decision to Support
Topeka, KS Calling it an historic day for democracy, Secretary of State
Ron Thornburgh has issued a letter of thanks to Kansas's congressional delegation,
and the White House for supporting the Senate's appropriation bill that would
give state and local governments $1.5 billion to overhaul elections in the United
States. The Senate approved the $390 billion-plus omnibus bill on January 23
and sent it to the House for consideration.
Initial $1.5 Billion Appropriation for Election Reform in Budget Bill
"Two days after the President previewed his budget for the coming year,
election officials across the country are thrilled that election reform is part
of the list," said Ron Thornburgh, Kansas Secretary of State. "It's
truly a step forward for Kansas and our union. It took bipartisan commitment
to make sure Kansas won't be left with unfunded mandates on election reform.
We can now move forward with meeting the new federal requirements for elections
without wondering where we will get the money to pay for the changes."
The Help America Vote Act, signed into law during the 107th Congress, authorizes
a total of $3.9 billion over three years, beginning with $2.16 billion in fiscal
year 2003. Approximately $650 million is authorized directly to states in 2003
to replace antiquated voting machines and improve election administration. The
majority of funding, approximately $3 billion, is supposed to be distributed
to states over three years according to a formula based on voter population.
An additional $170 million is allocated to increase polling place access for
disabled voters, improve voting technology, test voting equipment, and provide
state advocacy systems for the disabled.
Were looking forward to working with the legislature to see that
Kansas's share of the $1.5 billion gets to our state and county election officials
as soon as possible, said Thornburgh. And during the next few months,
well be working with our congressional delegation to secure the remaining
HAVA mandates states to abide by specific federal requirements, including
the following: provide voters an opportunity to correct ballot errors, implement
a voting system with manual audit capacity, provide at least one disability-accessible
voting machine per precinct, provide alternative language accessibility for
voters, allow for provisional voting, and develop a centralized, statewide voter
registration base. The bill also requires states to implement statewide voter
identification requirements for first-time voters.
Currently, Ron Thornburgh is one of 37 secretaries of state that serve as
the chief state election officer, a role that includes administering elections,
helping local officials recruit and train poll workers, and managing statewide
voter education programs.