Virginia Department of Elections releases $9M in CARES Act funding to prepare for November
The Virginia Department of Elections today announced the distribution of $9 million in CARES Act funding to prepare for the 2020 federal election cycle.
The Department of Elections is notifying local voter registration offices that CARES Act funding may be used for a number of expenses related to COVID-19 for the November 2020 federal elections. These funds may be used toward any expenditures related to the protection of the health and safety of poll workers, staff, and voters during the federal election as well as those resulting from anticipated increased demand for absentee ballots by mail costs, equipment and temporary staff.
Local voter registration offices may also utilize the funding for voter outreach to include mailings, public service announcements, etc.
Funds cannot be utilized for items that would be needed regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges to our electoral system. It is vital to keep our election officials and voters safe. It is also imperative that local election offices are equipped to handle the anticipated increase in the volume of absentee ballots. We are happy to distribute these funds to ensure that local election offices are prepared for the November election during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Christopher Piper, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections.
While funds disbursed to localities may also be used for obtaining personal protective equipment, the Virginia Department of Elections has provided $1 million in PPE and sanitization supplies utilizing state resources for May local elections and CARES Act funding for June primary elections and is preparing to provide PPE for the November election as well.
These supplies consisted of masks, face shields, gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectant for voting machines and other surfaces, precinct protection kits, one-time use folders and one-time use pens for voters to utilize at polling locations.
The Virginia Department of Elections encourages voters to protect their health during the COVID-19 outbreak by voting absentee for all upcoming elections. Voters can go to elections.virginia.gov/absentee to submit an application for an absentee ballot.
Voters who choose the absentee option should do so as soon as possible so they can get their ballots in time to return them by mail by Election Day.