Communication and Preparation Vital to Election Contingency Plans

May 14, 2008

WASHINGTON – Today, the Subcommittee on Elections, led by Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Ranking Member Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., received testimony from election officials emphasizing the importance of communication and pre-election planning when creating state contingency plans to cope with various emergency situations.

Testimony provided by witnesses, including Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Chair Rosemary Rodriguez, highlighted the importance of developing state and local election contingency plans. “Planning is essential to conducting elections in times of uncertainty and confusion,” Rodriguez noted. “It is incumbent upon states and local governments to put in place comprehensive plans that anticipate how elections can and will be run in the event of an emergency that occurs before, during or after an election.”


Florida’s Assistant Secretary of State, Dawn Kimmel Roberts, identified proper communication between election administrators and state emergency officials as a vital aspect to a successful state contingency plan. At today’s hearing, Roberts discussed how Florida election administrators managed to administer elections after four hurricanes hit the state in the six weeks leading up to the 2004 General Elections. In her testimony, Roberts stated, “The importance of regular communication between the [Department of State] and the supervisors of elections in the preparation for a statewide election cannot be overstated.”


In an effort to assist state election officials with developing and improving contingency plans, the EAC developed the Quick Start Management Guide for contingency and disaster planning. The EAC guide is designed to serve as a checklist of emergency procedures for state election officials to consider when establishing their own contingency plans.


For more information, please contact the Committee press office at (202) 225-8281.