When the $20.2 billion state budget was unveiled this week, voting rights advocates got an unpleasant surprise. Although the House and Senate had included $664,000 for the State Board of Elections in their initial spending plans, it mysteriously disappeared from a compromise budget that both chambers approved on Thursday. “When (the budget) went to the conference committee, we kind of thought it was a no-brainer this was going to be in there since both sides had done it,” said Brent Laurenz, executive director of the nonpartisan North Carolina Center for Voter Education.
The money would have triggered the release of $4.1 million in federal election funds under the Help America Vote Act to help counties pay to maintain voting machines, train poll workers and open more early-voting sites to cut down lines on Election Day. “When the budget emerged from behind closed doors, we didn’t have that deal. So, we’re surprised and disappointed,” said Bob Phillips, executive director of nonpartisan voting rights group Common Cause.
Full Article: Elections money disappears from state budget :: WRAL.com.