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State Makes Grants Available to Local Election Authorities

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Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander announced $1 million in grant funding that will go towards improving Missouri’s election process. Kander made the announcement at the Missouri Association of County Clerks and Election Authorities annual conference held Sept. 20-23, 2016.

The grant will help local election authorities make improvements to the voting polling places' Internet service, voter registration, poll worker training and voting equipment.

“It’s helping with training, so that could be like poll worker training to employee training, it will also go towards, much like last year, voting equipment or maintenance on that equipment, and polling place accessibility,” Stephanie Fleming, Director of Communications at the Missouri Secretary of State’s office, said.

All 116 Missouri local election authorities are eligible to apply for the grant. It is allotted based on the size of the jurisdiction, so larger cities are eligible for a higher grant.

“A larger jurisdiction, say Kansas City, St. Louis City, are going to be eligible for a greater amount of money,” Fleming said.

Although this grant is supposed to increase election efficiency, it only supports election administration and not voter outreach. The Pew Charitable Trusts Elections Performance Index states that Missouri’s voter turnout rate declined by 6.6% from the 2008 to 2012 elections.

Fleming said that although the grant is not for voter outreach, Missouri still wants to provide people who register but don’t vote with the resources they need.

“As far as voter turnout, you know, we always look for better and faster ways to reach eligible voters and make sure they’re aware of elections deadlines and issues that are going to be on the ballot, and we always hope for 100 percent turnout,” Fleming said.

Awardees of the grant have until December 2017 to use the funding for improvements to their polling facilities.