To the editor:
I am disappointed in a column you published on May 26, 2020 authored by Senator Rich Draheim, “Adjourning an Unprecedented and Historic Legislature Session.” The article is a typical, puffed up piece of journalism. I will address just one issue the Senator referred to. “We secured bipartisan “Help American Vote Act (HAVA)…”
How convenient to spin this issue by using the word secured. That makes it sound like the bill was earnestly worked on by both the DFL and GOP who worked across the aisle diligently trying to do what is in the best interest for us, the citizens of Minnesota. Nothing could be further from the truth. The GOP Senate played politics for over two years and stalled this legislation again and again. Senator Rich Draheim towed his party line, contributing to party politics that the citizens of Minnesota are so very, very tired of.
In a nutshell, this bill gave federal HAVA grant money to Minnesota for its election security to the tune of $6,595,610 on March 23, 2018, almost 7 million dollars. But not a penny of the HAVA money was received in 2018. In 2019, the Minnesota Legislature still did not grant access to these funds until passage of the 2019 biennial budget bill. That access became official on July 1, 2019, leaving just three months in federal fiscal year 2019 to make expenditures using these funds. Thus, Minnesota received a pittance amount of $47,169 of HAVA money in 2019. Most (ALMOST ALL) of the grant money was left on the table and Minnesota was one of the few states in the Union that still had not taken their total HAVA allocation. In 2020, the GOP Senate continued playing politics with our election security funds.
Finally, on May 9, 2020, over two years later, legislation was passed and signed by the governor to receive the rest of the HAVA money Yes, it took from March 23, 2018 to May 9, 2020 for Minnesota to collect our allotted share of federal HAVA money. The GOP stalling was finally over. We hear a lot about securing and safeguarding our elections. It certainly was not right to delay this HAVA funding.
After all, it was for the protection of Minnesota’s elections. Senator Draheim knew this. But party politics from the GOP won over.