Preserving our Democracy through well-supported elections

Published 8:00 am Saturday, December 10, 2022

By Robyn Tannehill

Attention is already shifting to the issue priorities and legislative agendas of newly elected politicians from up and down the ballot. It is an exciting time to be in the political world – but as we look ahead to the next year of legislating and leadership, it can’t go without ample debrief and discussion that we have once again completed a successful, and in many places record-breaking, election.

The ability to administer efficient elections with proper infrastructure is a pillar of the American democratic system. Voters across the country line up at their polling places each cycle with confidence that their experience will be smooth and simple. And it is the hard work of election officials that keep our system running as it should.

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Behind the scenes, these individuals are conducting all the administration needed to make our elections easy and effective, from stocking up on supplies to moving voting machines to counting ballots, the work done by our election administrators should be celebrated and acknowledged by every voter. 

Unfortunately, far too often the work these folks are doing not only goes unrecognized, but they are also staffing elections without proper resources in place. In counties in Mississippi and across the country, election offices are up against insufficient funding that means they are rationing resources and even lacking the proper staff to run elections as efficiently as possible.

With help from Congress, we can rectify these issues. In the budget for fiscal year 2023, there is an allocation of $400 million dollars that is exclusively for election infrastructure updates and support. Spread across cities, states, and counties, these funds would go a long way in solving the problems our election workers are facing today.

It should be a priority of Congress to promote efficient and well-run elections and properly investing in the offices and workers that make that priority are commonsense choices in taking action to meet that goal. The money has already been set aside, now all our representatives need to do is see it through to the finish line. I hope that Mississippi’s elected officials in Washington will stand with election administrators and put their support behind this funding to ensure proper updates and investments are made to our election infrastructure. 

At the end of the day, our democracy is only at its best when our election system is working properly. And for that to happen, we need every election office and every polling place to have the funding needed to successfully administer elections. The onus is on Congress to secure election funds and take a stance on the importance of properly supporting our election infrastructure.

Editor’s Note: Robyn Tannehill is the Mayor of Oxford.