PHOENIX – Today the Secretary of State’s Office published a budget request for fiscal year 2021 designed to correct years of financial mismanagement that have forced the office into a budget deficit.
“It has taken months to untangle the financial mess we inherited,” Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said. “The budget proposal we submitted represents the bare minimum needed to correct the operational and programmatic issues the office is facing. The issues we have identified must be handled openly.”
The request comes ahead of the upcoming legislative session and just months before the Presidential Preference Election. It includes funding:
- To implement improvements recommended following a thorough cybersecurity analysis of all systems under the office’s control
- To complete equipment upgrades
- To verify and process signatures for petitions, initiatives and referendums
- To meet the legislative mandates added during the 2019 legislative session
- To cover the state’s obligation to maintain the voter registration database
- To address staffing issues throughout all divisions, including the State Library and Archives, Business Services, and the Capitol Museum.
“The Elections Department is severely understaffed, and requires several more employees to provide the level of service that Arizona voters deserve,” Hobbs said.
Additionally, the office needs to correct a structural deficit created by the previous administration’s decision to enter into a ten-year contract with a records storage facility. The records had been stored in three state-owned warehouses and the decision to enter into this contract resulted in state staff cuts, hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted in rent, as well as increased operational costs to the Secretary of State’s Office and other state agencies.
“The budget request for fiscal year 2021 serves as a starting point to correct years of mismanagement,” Hobbs said. “My team is ready to work with the governor and legislature to ensure that Arizonans are properly served.”
The budget request for fiscal year 2021 can be viewed at www.AZSOS.gov.