KU’s Dole Institute of Politics launching national project on whether election officials have sufficient funding

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo

Dole Institute of Politics Nov. 11, 2021.

There’s a lot of talk about “election integrity,” but not as much talk about how the agencies that oversee state and local elections are funded.

KU’s Dole Institute of Politics is partnering with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate on a national project to raise awareness of funding needs for offices that oversee elections.

As part of the project, the Dole Institute will host a public event at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 that features a conversation between Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab and Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew, who is the county’s chief elections officer.

The Republican and Democrat, respectively, will discuss issues around funding and other challenges that election officials face currently.

“This project focuses on the fundamental resources — human and financial — that are required to administer secure and trusted elections, the foundation of our democracy,” Dole Institute Director Audrey Coleman said in a release announcing the event.

The project has come about as election officials contend that successfully advocating for the funding of election systems is more difficult than receiving funding for many other government programs.

The Feb. 15 event at the Dole Institute, 2350 Petefish Drive, is free and open to the public.

The Dole and Kennedy institutes also have announced that Tammy Patrick, an election expert and former commissioner on the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, will serve as the leader of a 10-member panel of policy experts from across the country. That group includes one University of Kansas faculty member, Zach Mohr, an associate professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration.

The working group will convene after the Feb. 15 event, and expects to announce future programming and initiatives related to the topic.


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