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Nevada secretary of state responds to House committee inquiry

Updated March 22, 2024 - 12:33 pm

Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar called for federal funding of elections and more protections of election workers in response to a letter from a House committee chairman who asked for an explanation regarding the voter history glitches that occurred on the secretary of state’s website.

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., chairman of the Committee on House Administration, sent a letter to the Democratic secretary of state a couple weeks ago, asking how errors showing that people voted in the Feb. 6 presidential primary even though they didn’t had occurred.

In his response Friday, Aguilar referred Steil to the explanation his office previously gave and described how the state’s new voter system will prevent similar problems from occurring in the future, while also criticizing the congressman for opposing increased federal funding of elections.

“There will always be another glitch, another failure, another incident if the funding of our country’s elections continues to be politicized,” Aguilar wrote.

County clerks called in February for more federal funding and increased security amid threats and harassment of election workers, and Steil said that Congress doesn’t have enough resources to increase funding for elections, Aguilar said.

Having skilled, dedicated workers as well as “consistent, strategic funding” are the two most important things in election administration, Aguilar said.

“Elections are critical infrastructure, they are how our citizenry makes their voices heard, and their security is of paramount importance,” Aguilar wrote. “When local election officials bring you their very real concerns around resources available for elections, ‘Congress doesn’t have extra money lying around right now’ is not an appropriate response.”

Nevada receives federal funding in the form of grants, including from the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which established the Election Assistance Commission to distribute funds for states to replace outdated voting systems, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Congress has allocated nearly $5 billion to state elections since 2003, however that funding is “irregular and unpredictable,” the organization states.

Aguilar suggested Steil focus on federally funding elections and working to prevent harassment of election workers.

“I recognize that Congress has myriad pressing concerns it must address, but it is disheartening that the Committee you lead has not held a single hearing this Congress that has called for additional federal spending on election administration, nor have any of your hearings addressed the significant and growing environment of threats and intimidation that election workers face,” he wrote.

Aguilar said he is grateful for the positive relationship he has with Nevada’s federal delegation, including Republican Rep. Mark Amodei, who chairs the Legislative Branch Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations and has expressed support for reasonable federal investment in elections.

“In closing, Americans may rest assured that Nevada will continue to run some of the most secure, accessible, and fair elections in the country,” Aguilar wrote.

Rep. Steil Letter 3.22 by Jessica Hill on Scribd

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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