WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, March 9, President Joe Biden released his proposed budget for the 2024 fiscal year. The budget includes major investments in state and local election departments as well as increased funding for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to enforce federal voting laws.
The budget allocates $5 billion over 10 years for state and local election departments in the form of grants from the Election Assistance Commission, including $1.635 billion in the first year. The funding is designed to help election officials better serve the American people through increased staffing, investments and security. Congress only included $75 million in election grants in its 2023 fiscal year budget; according to the Institute for Responsive Government’s Sam Oliker-Friedland, this sum was “a veritable lump of coal under the trees of election advocates and officials across the country.”
Meanwhile, the budget also includes additional funding to support the enforcement of federal voting laws. The proposal includes an increase of $8 million for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to better address violations of the National Voter Registration Act and Voting Rights Act. This increase is enough to hire 35 additional attorneys to work on this issue.