FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
HELP AMERICA VOTE ACT OF 2002
Justice Department Implementation Activities As Of December 2003
I.State Implementation & Compliance
·State Plans: Every covered jurisdiction, except one, has drafted a State Plan outlining the steps it intends to take to implement the Help America Vote (HAVA) and has published that plan on its website.
·Implementing Uniform Federal Requirements: All states appear to be making good faith efforts to implement HAVA’s Uniform Federal Requirements for Elections.
·State Laws: Almost all states have begun implementing HAVA by enacting appropriate state legislation and/or administrative regulations;
·Deadline Waiver: The Office of Election Administration reports that as of December 30, 2003, 37 covered jurisdictions had requested waivers until 2006 of the deadline for implementing a statewide computerized voter registration database.
·Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations: HAVA implementation appropriations are currently pending in the United States Congress.
·Fiscal Year 2003 Appropriations and Spending: $1.5 billion appropriated.
·General Services Administration (GSA): The GSA paid out just under $650 million in early money to all fifty-five U.S. states and territories to meet HAVA requirements. An additional $15 million was appropriated to reimburse some states that adopted new voting systems early.
·Elections Assistance Commission (EAC): The EAC and/or GSA will pay to U.S. states and territories an additional $830 million in requirements appropriated in fiscal year 2003, but not paid out due to the delayed confirmation of the commissioners.
·U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): HHS paid out $13 million to the states for election assistance for voters with disabilities, as well as $2 million to disability protection and advocacy systems.
III.Federal Implementation, Compliance Assistance, and
Election Assistance Commission
·Establishing the EAC: The United States Senate confirmed President George W. Bush’s four nominees to the EAC on December 9, 2003.
·Relocating the Office of Election Administration: As required by HAVA, the Office of Election Administration, currently at the Federal Election Commission, is being transferred to the EAC.
Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division
·Enforcement Authority: HAVA authorizes the Attorney General to enforce the uniform and non-discriminatory election technology and administration requirements to which the states are subject. Enforcement responsibility has in turn been delegated to the Civil Rights Division. Since passage of HAVA, a team of attorneys in the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are monitoring state implementation efforts.
·Regulatory Compliance Assistance: The Civil Rights Division worked with state and local officials to implement HAVA. Outreach efforts have included attending and making presentations at meetings and conferences of election officials and state legislators, responding to inquiries from state and local officials about HAVA’s requirements, as well as implementing a HAVA information site at <http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/hava/hava.html>.
·Executive Correspondence: In early 2003, the Assistant Attorney General wrote the Governor, state Attorney General and chief state election official of every covered U.S. state and territory regarding HAVA’s requirements and offered the Civil Rights Division's assistance as states began working to implement the new statute;
·Speeches and Presentations: Civil Rights Division attorneys have spoken at numerous organizations including the National Association of Secretaries of States; National Conference of State Legislatures; National Association of State Election Directors; International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers; electionline.org; The Election Center (trade organization representing state and local election officials); International Foundation for Election Systems; Eagleton Institute of Politics 2003 Forum for Newly Elected Women State Legislators; National Association of Counties; National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials, and Clerks; Association of Election Commission Officials of Illinois; Dupont Minority Counsel Conference; and, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Voting System Standards Committee.
·HAVA Guidance Correspondence: The Civil Rights Division has corresponded in writing with numerous state election officials regarding a variety of HAVA-related topics including disability access, election machine standards, voter registration standards, registered voter database requirements, and HAVA funding.
·Telephone and Internet Correspondence: In addition to written correspondence, the Civil Rights Division has also answered questions from numerous state and local officials by telephone about HAVA’s requirements. The Division’s answers to frequently asked questions are posted on the Division’s HAVA website page at <http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/misc/faq.htm#faq22>.
·Cooperation with Other Federal Agencies
ØFederal Election Commission: The Civil Rights Division consulted with the Federal Election Commission’s Office of Election Administration as it modified the federal mail-in voter registration form to implement HAVA.
ØU.S. Department of Defense: The Civil Rights Division worked with the Federal Voting Assistance Program at the Department of Defense, which is responsible for supervising voting by overseas citizens and military personnel - and their dependents - under the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. The Division provided the Defense Department with advice and counsel regarding HAVA’s requirements as it implemented its 2004 Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment - a special project intended to allow individuals to register to vote and to cast their absentee ballots electronically over the Internet during the 2004 election season.
·Monitoring & Enforcement
ØPre-Enforcement Compliance: The Civil Rights Division is monitoring each of the fifty-five covered jurisdictions to assess their implementation of HAVA’s uniform federal requirements. This process has included reviewing existing state laws and practices; new HAVA State Plans; and state legislation, regulations and procedures adopted since HAVA’s enactment.
ØState Implementation Efforts: During 2003, more than half of the covered jurisdictions enacted comprehensive legislation designed to bring them into compliance with HAVA, or made some HAVA-related legislative or administrative changes. Several states are planning to make legislative and administrative changes related to HAVA early in 2004. No state has indicated that it does not plan to comply with HAVA (on constitutional grounds or otherwise) in 2004, as several states did with regard to the NVRA in 1995.
ØEnforcement Plans: The Civil Rights Division will closely monitor states that have yet to enact conforming legislative or administrative changes, to ensure that they are ready to comply with HAVA during their first federal election in 2004. Should it be necessary, the Division will file enforcement actions against any jurisdiction that fails either to comply with HAVA or take substantial steps towards complete implementation.