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W.Va. Secretary of State’s office to distribute $4 million in federal election security funding

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —  Secretary of State Mac Warner has announced that the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office will work with county clerks across the state to distribute a total of $4 million in federal funding to help improve election security at the local level. 

According to Warner, this funding will allow West Virginia to continue to provide safe and secure elections utilizing state-of-the-art equipment and advanced training for election workers.

Under the Warner administration, this is the second round of federal funding that West Virginia has secured to help improve election security across the state.

The Secretary’s announcement today includes the date of the application period for counties to apply for a sub-grant. The application period will run from June 1 to 30, 2020, and the funds will be approved and distributed shortly after. The funds may be used by the county for either reimbursement or to directly purchase equipment, allowing them to spend funds now and apply for reimbursement for securing the Presidential Primary in May.  

The $4 million for West Virginia comes from congressional funding through the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA. In December 2019, Congress allocated $425 million to assist state election officials throughout the country. Counties will have a matching requirement of 15% for security equipment and e-poll books and 50% for voting equipment, funds permitting. 

West Virginia will give priority to funding requests for election equipment and cybersecurity Warner said. Funding will also be available to protect and secure election equipment when not in use at election time.

A grant program created in 2018 will continue to be administered by Warner’s office as well as the State Election Commission, with the assistance of an appointed HAVA Grant Board. The HAVA Grant Board membership includes County Clerks, the Governor’s Office, and a representative from the disability rights community. The Board is chaired by the WVSOS Elections Director, Brittany Westfall.

According to Westfall, the Secretary of State’s office will prepare county clerks for the HAVA funding application process. She said that Warner wants to expedite the funding process to be better prepared for the 2020 General Election in November.

“Secretary Warner continues to have a great working relationship with our county clerks,” Westfall said. “We know that funding at the local level for new equipment or training is difficult in many of our counties. Securing federal funds whenever possible is a priority for us.” The State Election Commission (SEC) makes the decisions on the voting equipment applications that the counties can purchase. 

As the State’s Chief Election Officer, Warner has the duty to train the clerks and provide proper directives when necessary to have a uniform process of voting.  

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