NOTE: This story has been updated to add that David Voye, divisions manager, Elections Division, Allegheny County, also applied for the grant and was given the notification of the award, according to Amie Downs, director of communications for the County.
Allegheny County was awarded a significant grant on Wednesday to help mitigate the rising costs of the upcoming election in this time of Covid.
The grant was awarded to Allegheny County in the amount of $2,052,251 from the Center for Tech and Civic Life.
The majority of the funds will be used to pay workers, says Bethany Hallam who was one of two from the County who applied for the funds. David Voye, divisions manager, Elections Division, applied for and received notification of the grant.
While $1.2 million will go toward hiring 76 additional temporary staffers to process, verify and canvass ballots, $800,000 will fund ballot printing and mailing automation. Funds will also be used to purchase more personal protective equipment for poll workers, along with cleaning supplies.
“The yearly election budget is a little under $7.5 million, but as you can imagine costs are drastically increased because of vote by mail and Covid-19.” says Hallam.
Hallam is spearheading the “No Naked Ballots — Dress Your Ballot” campaign with its mission to inform citizens of the proper way to vote by mail and to ensure that all mail-in ballots are filled out, returned correctly and counted on November 3.
Allegheny County accounts for more than 643,000 of the votes necessary to win the state in November and Pennsylvania is considered a must-win state for the presidential candidates.
Due to Covid, Allegheny County — along with 28 other states and many local governments — is pushing for voting by mail. According to the Allegheny County Elections Division, more than 292,000 ballots have been delivered to the post office to be mailed to voters, and more than 30,000 have already been returned.