FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
HELP AMERICA VOTE ACT OF 2002
Provisions Taking Effect January 1, 2004
Help America Vote Act requirements for federal elections apply to fifty-five covered jurisdictions: all fifty states, as well as the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The following requirements are effective as of January 1, 2004:
∑Provisional Voting: Voters who declare they are registered and eligible to vote in the jurisdiction in which they desire to vote, but whose names do not appear on the registration list, must be permitted to cast a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot shall be counted if election officials are able to verify that the individual is a registered and eligible voter under applicable state law. The state must establish a free access system (such as a toll-free telephone number or Internet website) where the voter can discover whether the vote was counted, and if not, the reason why. In addition, voters who vote in a federal election after the established time for polls to close, due to a court order or other order requiring the polls to remain open for extended hours, must vote by provisional ballot.
∑Voter Information: In each polling place on election day, states must post information regarding sample ballots; date of the election; hours polling places will be open; instructions on how to vote - including how to vote a provisional ballot; requirements for mail-in registrants and first-time voters under section 303(b) of HAVA; general information on state and federal election laws regarding voting rights, and prohibiting fraud and misrepresentation; as well as on how to contact appropriate officials if a voterís rights have been violated.
∑Identification for New Voters: Voters who register to vote for the first time by mail, and who have not previously voted in a federal election in the state, must provide either a copy of certain identification documents when they register or show such identification (i.e. photo identification, utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or other government document) the first time they vote in a federal election held after January 1, 2004. Voters not meeting these requirements can vote a provisional ballot. These requirements do not apply to individuals who are entitled to vote absentee under various federal laws such as the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act and the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act. These requirements also will not apply to anyone who provides either a driverís license number or the last 4 digits of a social security number if the state is able to match that information with an existing state identification record bearing the same number, name and date of birth as provided in the registration application.
∑Statewide List: States must develop a single, uniform, official, centralized, interactive computerized statewide voter registration list with unique identifying information for voters. It must be defined, maintained and administered at the state level and contain the name and registration information of every legally registered voter in the state. The list must be maintained according to specified standards and registration information must be verified against state driverís license records, federal social security records, and state felony and death records. Also, no application for voter registration may be accepted or processed by a state unless the application includes a driverís license number or the last 4 digits of the voterís social security number if the applicant does not have a driverís license. Officials must verify the accuracy of the information provided. Applicants having neither number must be assigned an identification number. The effective date of the statewide list and application requirement can be delayed until January 1, 2006 if a state seeks a waiver for good cause from the Election Assistance Commission.