PORTLAND — Senators in New England are getting behind a push to provide more federal resources to administer local and state elections.
Sen. Angus King, Maine’s independent senator, said the Sustaining Our Democracy Act would provide $20 billion in federal money over the next 10 years to help states with election necessities, such as training poll workers and upgrading voting equipment and registration systems.
King said the proposal is a reflection of the fact that elections take “significant investments of time, money, and personnel." He said that's "why the federal government must ensure that state and local governments have the tools they need to administer safe, effective elections.”
State and local governments that want to receive the money would need to submit plans for how the funds would be used. King said the proposal makes clear that it would stop states from using the money in ways that make it harder for eligible voters to cast their votes.
Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, chairwoman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee with oversight over federal elections, and Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren led nine of their colleagues in introducing the Sustaining Our Democracy Act.
“Voting is the beating heart of our democracy, and we must ensure that states have the resources they need to conduct fair and robust elections,” Warren said in a statement.
The co-sponsors of the proposal are all Democrats except for King and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. King and Sanders are independent senators who caucus with the Democrats.