A bipartisan effort led by Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D) and Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) has directed a letter to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) to accept and use $20.2 million in federal funds to ensure that elections are safer during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
With the upcoming August primary elections in the sunshine state, the lawmakers are looking to the CARES Act where Congress appropriated $400 million to the EAC to distribute to U.S. states and territories in order to protect the 2020 federal election cycle from the effects of the Coronavirus. In turn, the EAC will provide $20.2 million to Florida, contingent on Florida providing a 25 percent match of $4 million, which results in $24.2 million.
However, for this to occur, the state of Florida must first send a request for the federal assistance.
In the letter, the lawmakers remind that “Florida has not submitted a letter to the EAC formally requesting these federal funds and outlining the ways in which it intends to use them to ensure a safe, secure, and successful election.”
Moreover, the lawmakers also ask that the state “formally request the funds as soon as possible, so funding can be used to prepare for the state’s August 18, 2020 primary election – which is only about 100 days away – and the November 3, 2020 general election.”
Specifically, the lawmakers asked Governor DeSantis to inform them when the state will request the funds, how the state intends to meet its required match and how Florida will spend the money once the state receives it.
Another concern that was highlighted in the letter are concerns expressed by the bipartisan Florida Supervisors of Elections. The bipartisan group noted “significant challenges” in the March presidential preference primary because of COVID-19, and they argued they will face increased administrative costs this election season to make sure the safety of voters and poll workers are met during this time.