Post-Award  Guidance on Meeting Match in CARES Act Grants under HAVA 
CARES and HAVA
Testing and Certification Guidance on Use of HAVA Funds for Expenses Related to COVID-19 2020 CARES Grant 2020 HAVA CARES Funds
Closeout Process HAVA Election Security Grants About EAC HAVA Grant FAQs

2020 HAVA Security Funds

Voters National Mail Voter Registration Form Voting System Testing and Certification Research HAVA Section 251, 101, 102 Grants Accessibility FOIA HAVA Discretionary Grants

Military Heroes Initiatives

2010 College Poll Worker Program

Question & Answers

Yes, the EAC adopted 2 CFR. by policy as permitted by the Office of Management and Budget. Grantees acknowledge the regulations by reviewing and accepting the terms of the award as specified in the Notice of Grant Award.

Audit resolution is complete and the EAC can close the audit when all required corrective action described in the management decision is complete. That process must be completed within 12 months of the date the OIG issues the audit. However, in most cases, corrective action should be completed much sooner. The management decision includes timelines for completion of any action that is still outstanding when the management decision is issued. Management decisions must be issued within ?? months of the date the audit report is issued.

State allocations for mandatory grants under HAVA are calculated based on a formula established in the law that includes three steps:

  1. A minimum percentage is allocated to all states and the District of Columbia (½ of 1% of the appropriation) and the five territories (1/10 of 1%).
  2. The remainder is allocated based on the voting age population of each state in relation to the total voting age population of all states as reported in the most recent decennial census.
  3. If all states and territories do not receive the guaranteed minimum payment in HAVA ($1,000,000 for territories and $5,000,000 for the 50 states and the District of Columbia), funds are re-allocated from states above that minimum to states below the minimum to ensure all states and territories receive at least the guaranteed minimum.

The guaranteed minimum payment established in the law can be changed in appropriations language.

Questioned costs are expenses that are questioned by the auditor because of an audit finding (See 2 CFR 200.84). A questioned cost: 1) may result from a violation or possible violation of a state, regulation, or terms and conditions of a federal award, 2) may not be supported by adequate documentation, or 3) may appear unreasonable (does not reflect the actions that a prudent person would take in the circumstances).

Capital improvements to land, buildings, or equipment which materially increase their value require prior written approval from the EAC per 2 CFR 200.439. Without pre-approval, capital improvement costs are not allowable.

EAC issues debt collection letters at closeout, if there are unexpended funds that need to be returned, or to collect disallowed costs based on an OIG audit finding. Debts must be paid within 90 days of receiving the debt collection letter. The EAC will charge interest and fees on an overdue debt in accordance with the Federal Claims Standards (31 CFR parts 900 through 999).

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 authorizes the federal funds, titled “Election Security Grants” in the Act “to make payments to states for activities to improve the administration of elections for federal office, including to enhance election technology and make election security improvements.

The accompanying Congressional joint explanatory statement states, “Consistent with the requirements of HAVA, states may use this funding to: replace voting equipment that only records a voter's intent electronically with equipment that utilizes a voter-verified paper record; implement a post-election audit system that provides a high-level of confidence in the accuracy of the final vote tally; upgrade election-related computer systems to address cyber vulnerabilities identified through [Department of Homeland Security] or similar scans or assessments of existing election systems; facilitate cybersecurity training for the state chief election official's office and local election officials; implement established cybersecurity best practices for election systems; and fund other activities that will improve the security of elections for federal office.”

See “Post-Award Usage of Funds” for specific examples of allowable activities under HAVA.

We follow the process set up in the Help America Vote Act in Section 101(d)(2) which is summarized below:   

Step 1. A minimum amount is distributed at first to all the states and territories, 1/2 of one percent to the states and 1/10 of one percent to the territories.​ 

Step 2. The remainder of the amount appropriated is allocated based on the percentage of voting age population in the state. Per HAVA, the population numbers are from the current published decennial census.

Step 3. There is also a minimum amount per state set in HAVA or the current appropriation act.   If there are states and territories that fall below that minimum after the allocation is made based on voting age population, the law calls for a prorated reduction from larger states to bring the smaller ones up to the minimum. 

Note: As of March 1, 2022, the most current decennial census data for the states is the 2020 Census and the most current data for the territories is the 2010 Census.  If grant funding must be distributed before the territory data is published for the 2020 Census, the EAC would make formula awards using hybrid data combining the 2020 and 2010 census.   

A corrective action plan (CAP) is a step-by-step plan of action that is developed to achieve targeted outcomes for resolution of an identified problem or noncompliance. The EAC requires a CAP for grantees that are out of compliance with grant requirements (e.g. missed reporting deadlines).

The U.S. Treasury can offset a federal award to collect a debt owed by the state. The debt can be collected from any award regardless of the state agency that owed the debt. There have been a few times that HAVA grants have been offset for debts owed by other agencies. The EAC is not notified if HAVA grants are offset and does not have access to information about the offset. The U.S. Treasury department sends regular reports to the State Comptrollers about offsets.  Those reports identify the agency responsible for the debt, the agency whose federal award was decreased to pay the debt, the amount of the offset, and contact information for the agency responsible for the debt.

The EAC considers requests for extensions on a case-by-case basis. Requests must be made in writing via email prior to the deadline of the required submission and should include an explanation for why the extension is needed.

Contact your state comptroller’s office immediately to identify the debtor agency and have the offset amount returned to your HAVA grant. It is important to identify the source of the debt and ensure the state makes a transfer for the full amount authorized by EAC as soon as possible. Any delay in getting the funds returned may cause additional funds to be owed because the full amount EAC disbursed must start earning interest from the date it is deposited in state accounts.  If a lesser amount is deposited due to an offset, the state must make the grant whole for both the offset amount and the interest lost caused by the delay in the deposit of the full disbursed amount. Delays in resolving offsets can result in significant lost interest.

Yes, semi-annual, and annual reporting are required. Both a Federal Financial Report (FFR) and a narrative Progress Report are due for semi-annual and annual reporting cycles.

See “Reporting” for more information about the EAC’s reporting requirements.

In addition to FAQs, the EAC publishes guidance on grant requirements such as reporting and closeout on our website: https://www.eac.gov/payments-and-grants/financial-progress-reporting

For additional guidance and general questions about EAC grants and HAVA, please email grants@eac.gov or HAVAfunding@eac.gov.

Under HAVA (254(b)(1)(d)) and the Uniform Guidance §200.305(b)(7)(ii) / §200.332(a)(2,3), HAVA grantee requirements are passed through to subgrantees. Where subgrants are disbursed as advanced payments, the subgrantee is required to place their funds in an interest-bearing account and report any interest earned and expended to the grantee. The HAVA grantee must report subgrant interest earned and expended on their FFR as part of the cumulative amounts reported on lines 10p (Total Federal interest earned) and 10q (Federal interest expenditures) on the EAC custom FFR. Subaward interest activities should be detailed in the subgrant narrative section of the progress report.

The state must follow its own laws and procedures regarding the distribution of grant funds when issuing a sub-grant but must also assure that the sub-grantee is aware of the limitations imposed by the federal grant. A state must follow its own law as to whether a cost sharing agreement is required, or some other form of grant agreement is needed. However, there should be some documentation that supports the transfer of these funds to the local governments, whether it be a certification by the governments that they will comply with the limitations or that the governments receive funds on a cost reimbursement basis after providing a request for the funds and proof that they were spent in accordance with the state and federal restrictions. OMB Circular A-102, Common Rule, 41 C.F.R. § 105-71.137, Sub-grants, covers the requirements for states that issue sub-grants of federal funds.

Program income is income you earn as a direct result of activities supported under the grant. For example, if you developed cyber security training materials with grant funds and charge your voting districts for them, the funds you receive in payment are program income. Net program income is the amount of income remaining after deducting the costs of providing the materials to voting districts, such as shipping costs. Program income must be reported in the Program Income section of the FFR on lines 10 L - O.

See also “Where do we report interest earned on the federal share?”

Audit Resolution is the follow-up process with grant recipients to ensure grantees take appropriate and timely action to address OIG (Office of Inspector General) audit findings of HAVA funds. After the OIG issues a final report, the EAC Grants staff will work with the audited agency to implement recommendations from the audit report and confirm the grantee has taken appropriate correction action. The result will be a management decision by the EAC that describes what the grantee has done or will do to address the findings. The resolution process will be complete when the EAC confirms all actions are resolved.

No, states are not required to accept the funds. If a state chooses not to request the funds, EAC will require a formal notification. 

The EAC awards two distinct types of grants: 1) HAVA operational grants to states and territories and 2) discretionary grants. Operational grants include Section 101 grants for the improvement of federal election administration and Title II Section 251 requirements payments grants. The EAC does not currently have funds available for discretionary grants. For more information about current open and active grants, please visit our “Grants Management and Oversight” page.

Post-Award

Reporting

 If you are unable to find your grants in GrantSolutions, please reach out to grantsolutions@eac.gov or to your EAC Grants Management Specialist to (GMS) confirm whether you have an active grant assignment in the system. In the meantime, you can still access your reports using the Online Data Collection tool which can be found by clicking the avatar drop down (blue circle with your initials) in the top right-hand corner of the “My Grants List” screen. (You can find a tutorial for navigating your GrantSolutions account here).

The SF-425 Federal Financial Report (FFR) should reflect all activities against the Federal award depending if you are reporting on a cash or accrual basis. Whether the grantee advances the payment, or provides it as a cost reimbursement-based award, reporting the subgrant expenses as they are incurred/approved provides an accurate reflection of the rate of spending on the award and abides by (2CRF § 200.502(a)).

Line 10.b (Cash Disbursements) and Line 10.e (Federal share of expenditures) should reflect the sum of all expenses including: direct costs for goods and services and approved reported subaward expenses.

Line 10.f (Federal Share of Unliquidated Obligations) should reflect the amount of outstanding dollars incurred by the grantee. For cash base reporting, 10.f reflects dollars incurred but not yet paid. For accrual base reporting, 10.f reflects dollars incurred but not yet recorded.

Please discuss any potential changes in reporting these expenditures on the FFR with the Grants Office in advance at grants@eac.gov.

 Guidance on Meeting Match in CARES Act Grants under HAVA 

The state should follow the regulations at 2 CFR 200 related to the requirements for match documentation. They apply to subgrantee as well as grantees and the grantee is responsible for ensuring subgrantees are following the regulations and maintaining appropriate expenditure documentation. That said, the regulations do not prohibit such an approach. Therefore, yes, if that is a state’s strategy to identify and document match after considering the timeliness and expense of such an approach.

The state will have to pay back the portion of expended federal funds for which they could not meet the match, e.g. if you received and expended $5,000,000 under the CARES Act and were able to provide $800,000 in match, you were able to match $4,000,000 of the total. You would only have to pay back the appropriate portion of the expended funds to make up the match shortfall. In these cases, EAC will work with the state to determine the amount owed. 

Yes, It can apply to the state’s overall match. The match on a federal grant is not tracked by subgrant, only by the overall grant. Grantees are responsible for ensuring they have verifiable records of the match. 

Yes, OMB has eased administrative requirements on grantees under the pandemic and EAC can delay the process to negotiate a rate with grantees. You may claim the rate as part of your match and negotiate at a later date.

You will need to establish a way to document the amount of time the staff person spent on activities supported under the grant. Generally, this would be some kind of timekeeping system that documented all the hours the employee worked and allocated hours to different cost centers, such as the CARES grant, the Election Security grant, etc. 

If you have never had a negotiated indirect rate and are using the de minimus 10%, there is no documentation to maintain. Otherwise, the documents specifying your negotiated rate serve as the documentation. 

While the law limits expenditures to costs resulting from the effects of the pandemic on the 2020 elections, it still allows states two years to make the match funds available. However, it is difficult to see what costs could arise related to the 2020 elections in 2021 or 2022. Therefore, EAC encourages states to meet the match as they expend the federal funds before December 31, 2020. There could be costs associated with deep cleaning and sanitizing storage facilities or for post-election auditing that might occur in 2021.

The limit is applied on each subgrantee. The maximum amount a state can include in its modified total direct rate is $25,000 for each subgrantee. E.g, if you have one subgrantee that gets $40,000 and another that gets $20,000, the amount you can include in the calculation of modified total direct costs is $45,000 (25,000 + $20,000). 

In addition, subgrantees might also have indirect costs they could claim under the grant, either as federal share or local match. However, the state is responsible for determining if local offices have a negotiated indirect cost rate or could claim a de minimus 10%. There can also be local election offices that do not have any indirect costs; in which case, there would be no percentage to claim. The grantee must make those determinations before allowing subgrantees to claim indirect costs. 

The regulations at 2 CFR 200 and the requirements under the CARES Act flow down to the subgrantees. Therefore, the documentation requirements for subgrantees are the same as they are for the states and any federal funds awarded to the subgrantees must be spent by December 31, 2020. The match, whether from the state or the counties can be spent after the end of the year, but it must be on allowable activities under the grant related to the effects of the pandemic on 2020 federal elections.

CARES and HAVA

These situations are governed by federal regulation 2 CFR 200.314 related to residual unused supplies. Generally, supplies purchased by states and subgrantees with federal funds are to be used, managed, and disposed of in accordance with state laws and procedures. However, pursuant to 2 CFR 200.314, if a state or subgrantee’s residual inventory of unused supplies exceeds $5,000 in aggregate when the federal grant project ends, and the supplies are not needed for any other federal award program, the state or subgrantee must retain the supplies for use on other activities or sell them, but must, in either case, compensate the federal government for its share. While the EAC does not anticipate many situations in which the fair market value of residual unused supplies will exceed an aggregate value of more than $5,000, states need to have processes in place to make that determination.  If the value of unused supplies exceeds $5,000 in aggregate, the state must report to the EAC the amount owed to the federal government. If the unused supplies are worth less than $5,000 in aggregate, the state or subgrantee can decide how to use or dispose of the unused supplies based on their state specific laws and procedures.

The same rules apply to matching funds as they do to federal funds.  Therefore, the state should follow its laws and procedures related to residual supplies when a grant ends.  If the value of residual unused supplies exceeds $5,000, the state must work with EAC to determine if the state did not meet its minimum matching requirement and calculate the match shortfall. 

Yes, but the HAVA grant cannot support the entire cost. The expenditure must meet the allocable criteria following 2 CFR 200.404. A cost is allocable to a grant for the portion that it benefits the federal grant. If the upgrades to the system are being used to upgrade a connected countywide system as a whole and not exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of federal elections, only the percentage of costs associated with the elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. You should ensure that the county establishes a reasonable method for allocating the costs based on the benefits to the county overall and not just the election unit.

Hiring permanent staff is an allowable cost. You would need to build that cost into your budget for the future after the HAVA grant ends. Also, keep in mind that the expenditure must meet the allocable criteria following 2 CFR 200.404. If the staff person will have duties beyond overseeing activities under the HAVA grant, the timesheet must allocate only the portion of time spent on election security and HAVA activities to the grant.

You can follow whatever state process you set up to provide the funds to the counties.   You need to ensure that local jurisdictions maintain supporting documentation for the expenditures and that you conduct a reconciliation at the end to identify unexpended funds for return to the state or reallocation.

All purchases of vehicles require prior approval from EAC and states must always contact EAC before purchases.  In approving the purchase, EAC will consider whether leasing the vehicle is a more reasonable approach.  States must ensure proper allocability of the cost.  A vehicle is an equipment asset that can be used in future years and for other purposes.  Therefore, the costs cannot be allocated entirely to the CARES Act grant. 

No, HAVA funds can only be used for costs incurred in a federal election. If there are no candidates for federal office on the ballot, HAVA funds cannot be used to cover any expenditures.

EAC has determined that, because the funds are available to the states and sub-recipients for less than a year, you don't have to place the funds in an interest-bearing account based on 2 CFR § 200.306.  Of course, counties are free to put the funds into an interest-bearing account and the normal rules apply.  Any interest earned must be spent on grant-funded activities.

Yes, you can expend the funds to educate voters about changes in voting processes that result from the pandemic, but you cannot use the funds merely for Get-Out-the-Vote campaigns or to encourage voting.  You cannot use the funds to print voter registrations forms as this is a routine activity for the state.  Those forms should be readily available already.  The funds can be spent on public service announcements to educate voters about options to register to vote and changes to the process due to the pandemic.  You need to be clear in any announcement that you are providing updated information about voting and/or voter registration procedures in response to the pandemic.

Yes, you can use HAVA funds to provide masks for voters and it does not have to be a requirement that applies across the state. 

The direct cost allocation principles described in 2 CFR § 200.405 apply.  “If a cost benefits two or more projects or activities in proportions that can be determined without undue effort or cost, the cost must be allocated to the projects based on the proportional benefit. If a cost benefits two or more projects or activities in proportions that cannot be determined because of the interrelationship of the work involved, then … the costs may be allocated or transferred to benefitted projects on any reasonable documented basis.”

You should allocate the costs in proportions to the activities if the allocation can be determined without undue effort or cost.  If you can't determine the proportions because of the interrelationship of the work involved, you can allocate or transfer the costs on any reasonable basis.   The items you are talking about have specific uses that are only beneficial when holding an election during a public health emergency and probably would not be used during normal voting conditions.   It may be very difficult or impossible to determine cost allocation between the federal elections this year and hypothetical future needs that will be conditioned on the public health situation next year.  In such a case, the cost can be allocated to the grant on a reasonably documented basis, and the items can be used as needed in future non-federal elections. However, if allocation between federal and non-federal elections can be determined without undue effort or cost, it must be done (e.g., purchase of ballot printing equipment to handle a need for increased demand of mail ballots would likely have determinable benefits to future non-federal elections).

Yes, as long as the original purchase quantity was reasonable at the time for the federal election, following 2 CFR § 200.404. “A cost is reasonable if, in its nature and amount, it does not exceed that which would be incurred by a prudent person under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision was made to incur the cost.” 

In general, as with equipment, states follow their own laws and procedures for using, managing, and disposing of unused supplies and should use residual supplies to support other federal grant activities before donating them to non-federally supported activities. However, this is not a requirement and states should set their own policies for disposition of unused supplies under the $5,000 aggregate threshold.

No. When an expense to the grant can also be allocated to non HAVA funding, allocation methodology should follow 2CRF § 200.405. Examples: Equipment that benefits both federal and non-federal elections or election office salaries where time is allocated to federal and non-federal activities. The EAC can help you make the determination to allocate funds appropriately, which should occur at the time of procurement.

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There is no one way to allocate costs and allocation methods will vary across states.  There are two scenarios in which states may need to allocate costs between the benefits to the HAVA grant and other state office activities;  (1) when purchasing equipment or claiming costs such as salaries under the grant during the grant period and, (2) when you purchase equipment you will use after the grant ends.  Allocation is done at the point of purchase.  EAC can help you make the determination during the grant to allocate the funds appropriately when you purchase the items.  As examples, if you buy equipment solely in response to the pandemic and use it during the 2020 election, you can allocate the total cost to the CARES grant because it is a reasonable and necessary cost to respond to the pandemic.  If you buy laptops for your staff and they will perform duties outside of the grant during the grant period, you need to allocate the costs appropriately.  Grantees typically allocate percentages of time spent on grant and non-grant activities.   

FY19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Section 889

The Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act included a prohibition on federal agencies and federal grant recipients from procuring certain Chinese telecommunications and video surveillance equipment. The Section 889 restrictions went into effect on August 13, 2020, for federal grant recipients under a new section to 2 CFR contained in 2 CFR §200.216.

The prohibited telecommunications equipment is telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies Company or ZTE Corporation (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities). Additionally, video surveillance and telecommunications equipment produced by Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, or Dahua Technology Company (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities) that is used for the purpose of public safety, security of 16 government facilities, physical security surveillance of critical infrastructure, and other national security purposes is covered equipment under Section 889.

Under Section 889 and the subsequent regulation 2 CFR §200.216, federal grant recipients and sub-recipients are restricted from using federal funds to procure, obtain, extend or renew a contract, or enter into a contract for equipment, services, or systems that use the prohibited telecommunications equipment or services as of August 13, 2020.

No, 2 CFR §200.216, which applies to grantees, does not impose a certification requirement on grantees.

While grantees are not expected to remove equipment installed prior to August 13, they should expect to and plan for a transition away from the prohibited equipment. Section 889 is clear on the prohibition against entering into new contracts, renewing existing contracts, and similar new transactions involving covered the equipment as of August 13, 2020. Grantees may use HAVA funds to transition away from the prohibited equipment.

Expenses related to the installation or removal of security equipment which is used to enhance security of elections facilities are an allowable cost as the activity is reasonable to make election security improvements. This includes labor costs as appropriate.

Testing and Certification

Windows Critical Update

While voting systems operate in an air-gapped environment that may mitigate the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) vulnerability described in the notice, the EAC considers the Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) validation vulnerability a significant threat to voting system security. According to information in DHS Emergency Directive 20-02, “This vulnerability may allow malicious software to bypass the trust store, allowing unwanted or malicious software to masquerade as authentically signed by a trusted or trustworthy organization, which may deceive users or thwart malware detection methods like anti-virus”. This vulnerability affects systems using Windows 10, Server 2016, and Server 2019. Please reach out to your voting system vendor for further information on whether or not your specific configuration is affected and their mitigation plans.

Since the ECC vulnerability described above requires that malicious software be loaded on to a vulnerable system in some manner, security measures designed to protect against accidental or unauthorized software installation should be implemented and/or existing procedures reviewed. For voting systems, precautions should be taken when transporting media (USB, flash drives, DVD-ROM, etc.) between components connected to public networks such as the internet and certified voting system components. This could include setting up a stand-alone PC (not connected to the internet or voting system) that has been patched and has up-to-date anti-malware/anti-virus software installed that is used to scan any media before it is introduced to the voting system. Additionally, we recommend that physical security best practices should be followed, including sealing USB, CD/DVD readers, and other external connections when not in use.

The EAC has reached out to voting system manufacturers and test labs reminding them that software de minimis changes are available for this type of update. We encourage manufacturers to submit updates to affected systems as soon as possible. The Testing and Certification program stands ready to expedite review of these changes.

The EAC will publish a list of voting systems that have been certified with this patch. Additionally, you should reach out to your voting system vendor for information on whether an update is necessary and what their implementation plan is in the event you require an update.

Guidance on Use of HAVA Funds for Expenses Related to COVID-19

You may use any of the funds. However, you cannot use remaining 251 funds for this purpose unless you have already met all the requirements in Title III or the amount will be minimal as defined in Section 251(b)2 of HAVA.  The EAC has already awarded your 2020 funds and the project period in the Notice of Grant Award you received began on December 21, 2019. Any expenditures you incur after that date can be claimed against the grant. When you submit your narrative and budget you can describe how you have used or plan to use the funds to secure federal elections during this pandemic. 

Yes, costs to communicate changes in voting processes due to the pandemic are allowable costs. Keep in mind that HAVA funds can be used to provide information on voting procedures, rights or technology. Items intended to “get out the vote” or merely encourage voting do not meet this requirement.

Yes, those would be allowable costs.  However, please be aware that you must also ensure you have appropriate security measures in place (tokens, VPN access only, etc.) if they will be accessing your shared system.

Yes, those would be allowable costs, with the caveat that you need to ensure the costs are allocated to the grant in appropriate proportions.  If you decide to lease the equipment, you must also follow requirements in Section 200.465 of 2 CFR which outline circumstances you should consider in determining whether to lease or buy the equipment.

Yes, you may hire temporary staff under these circumstances and to provide additional temporary help to process returned ballots.

2020 CARES Grant

Usage of Funds

The CARES Act is very specific about the use of the funds. They must be used “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, for the 2020 Federal election cycle.” The award instructions and EAC’s Guidance on Use of HAVA Funds for Expenses Related to COVID-19 provide many examples and answer questions about the use of CARES Act and other HAVA funds to address the pandemic. See the EAC website for the guidance at: https://www.eac.gov/electionofficials/guidance-use-hava-funds-expenses-related-covid-19.

HAVA, in Section 101(b)(2), specifically states that 101 funds cannot be used to pay costs associated with any litigation, except to the extent that such costs otherwise constitute permitted uses of a payment under this section. Therefore, they cannot be used to cover the costs of a lawsuit brought against an action the state takes such as moving a primary or changing voting processes. However, if the litigation pertained to a state's actions to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on federal elections and the litigation resulted in a judgement or order requiring the state to implement certain changes in their administration of those elections, the funds could be used to carry out those required changes

2020 HAVA CARES Funds

HAVA, in Section 101(b)(2), specifically states that 101 funds cannot be used to pay costs associated with any litigation, except to the extent that such costs otherwise constitute permitted uses of a payment under this section.  Therefore, they cannot be used to cover the costs of a lawsuit brought against an action the state takes such as moving a primary or changing voting processes.  However, if the litigation pertained to a state's actions to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on federal elections and the litigation resulted in a judgement or order requiring the state to implement certain changes in their administration of those elections, the funds could be used to carry out those required changes. 

When the CARES Act was passed, EAC sought guidance from OMB and reviewed applicable law related to supplemental appropriations. EAC confirmed that requirements set forth in the original appropriations apply to supplemental appropriations along with all requirements set forth in the supplemental appropriation. As a result, the 20% match requirement still applies along with the much more specific use of the funds described in the CARES Act. 

The CARES Act is very specific about the use of the funds. They must be used “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, for the 2020 Federal election cycle.” The award instructions and EAC’s Guidance on Use of HAVA Funds for Expenses Related to COVID-19 provide many examples and answer questions about the use of CARES Act and other HAVA funds to address the pandemic. See the EAC website for the guidance at: https://www.eac.gov/election-officials/guidance-use-hava-funds-expenses-related-covid-19.

States are not required to place Section 101 state matching funds in the same fund with the federal funds. As a result, states can meet their matching requirements with funds within their existing budget authority. 

The funds can be used for any 2020 federal election which includes Presidential primaries, Congressional primaries and the November general election. 

No, states are not required to accept the funds. States that choose not to do so, should notify EAC with the reason via email to the CARESFunding@eac.gov email address. 

Generally, supplanting occurs when a state or local government reduces state or local funds for an activity specifically because federal funds are available or expected to be available to fund that same activity. Supplanting of state funds with HAVA funds is not permitted. Federal funds must be used to supplement existing state or local funds and may not replace state or local funding that has been appropriated or allocated for the same purpose or that is required by law.

Any allowable costs you incur prior to March 28, 2020 and after January 20, 2020, the date the Public Health Emergency was declared, can be claimed as either federal or state match expenditures. 

Yes, you are providing the funds this year as a response to the pandemic. One caution, if you plan to continue the practice for all future elections, it is not a one-time response to the pandemic. 

HAVA, in Section 101(b)(2), specifically states that 101 funds cannot be used to pay costs associated with any litigation, except to the extent that such costs otherwise constitute permitted uses of a payment under this section. Therefore, they cannot be used to cover the costs of a lawsuit brought against an action the state takes such as moving a primary or changing voting processes. However, if the litigation pertained to a state's actions to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on federal elections and the litigation resulted in a judgement or order requiring the state to implement certain changes in their administration of those elections, the funds could be used to carry out those required changes. 

Yes. HAVA requirements related to equal access to voting for individuals with disabilities do not change because of the pandemic. Voters with disabilities must be able to vote privately and independently. Any improvements to systems, equipment and election processes must address accessibility for voters with disabilities. The EAC - CISA working group document on eballot delivery is a good source for more information. EAC will be hosting a virtual discussion in the coming weeks to discuss best practices and proven successes to further assist voters with disabilities and the election officials who serve them. 

Yes, you may use CARES grant funds to cover increased costs that result from the pandemic needed to ensure voting by persons with disabilities. The costs must be in response to the effects of the pandemic on accessibility related to the 2020 elections.You may use funds available under the 2018 and 2020 Election Security grants for more general costs associated with ensuring voters with disabilities have secure ways to vote privately and independently. 

Costs associated with candidate filings for federal office are defined as part of the voting system under Title III of HAVA. If the use of laptops to allow candidates to file electronically improves the administration of federal elections and makes them more secure, the costs are allowable under your 2018 and 2020 Election Security grants. If you are expending the funds to alter or modify processes to protect federal candidates and election staff from coronavirus-related concerns, they are allowable costs with CARES Act funds. 

If the staff are coming back to work on activities related to the 2020 federal elections as a result of the pandemic, the costs would be allowable. For example, if they are needed to manage printing unanticipated large numbers of ballots. If they return to work and are not providing support needed related to federal elections issues related to the pandemic, the costs would not be allowed. The state should make those determinations based on the statutory requirement that funds be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, for the 2020 Federal election cycle.

State match funds can come from any source, but the expenditures being claimed as match cannot be for costs that are not associated with expenditures resulting from the effect of the pandemic on federal elections. For example, if the state-appropriated funds are for cleaning and preparing schools to re-open, those funds can’t be claimed as match on the grant. If the state appropriation can be used by the elections office for federal elections, then, yes, they can be used as match as long as they are for allowable costs related to the pandemic and are properly supported. 

You can claim the expenditures as either federal funds or match funds and in both cases should follow your state procedures for inventory. Keep in mind, that the definition of equipment under 2 CFR 200 is any equipment with a unit value over $5,000. Therefore, laptop computers are not considered equipment under federal grants. Your state may have a lower threshold for defining equipment. 

With CARES funds you can only cover costs that you are incurring as a result of the pandemic. If there are other costs you incur that more generally improve VBM, you should use your 2018 and 2020 grant funds. 

EAC issued the grant as a separate award because the funds are for a very specific project, but the funds don’t have to be held in a separate account. States deposit the funds in the State Election Fund with other EAC federal funds, but must be able to report on them separately, including reporting on interest earned on these funds separately from interest earned in the State Election Fund on other HAVA funds. States must track the funds separately and report on a separate FFR from the other EAC grants. 

Any funds used as match under a grant must be used for allowable activities under the specific grant. If you have funds in your existing state budget that you will spend on allowable activities under your 2020 Election Security grant, you may use those funds as match. 

In-kind contributions are costs covered by a third-party for eligible activities under the grant, e.g., costs for training approved as part of the grant activities and paid for by another agency. Grantees must document these kinds of contributions They can be used to meet the match requirements for 101 grant funds (including Election Security grants) if the grant has a matching requirement.

In-kind match is always a contribution by a third party. Expenditures that the state incurs through its own budget are cash match, they are paid directly from its own accounts. Expenditures the state incurs, regardless of whether they were formerly paid for with federal funds, can be counted as state match as long as they are expended for activities within the approved budget for the grant (allocable to the grant). 

No, Section 200.306 of 2 CFR stipulates that federal funds provided to a grantee under another award cannot be used to match other federal funds. 

In general, federal funds cannot supplant state and local funds.  However, in the current pandemic, states may cut budgets out of necessity, not because there are cases in which they have identified federal funds to replace state funds. States can contact EAC to review the specifics of their situation to determine if federal funds are being used to supplant state funds.

This addresses the use of airtime and other media donations as match on the grants. It covers both how to determine if the media coverage is an allowable activity under the grants and what the state must maintain to support the value of the donation. In these cases, the costs are considered an in-kind donation because they have been provided at no cost, or reduced cost, to the agency by a third party.

As always, the state must determine if the costs are reasonable, necessary and allocable to the grant. Costs related to voter education are an allowable expenditure under HAVA grants. The items procured must provide information on voting procedures, rights or technology. During the pandemic, states will need to communicate with voters about changes in voting procedures in the state. Therefore, costs of educating voters about those procedures would be an allowable cost.  Items intended to “get out the vote” or merely encourage voting do not meet this requirement. Nor can states use the value of interviews with state staff or officials, unless the topics are about voting procedures, rights or technology. Interviews designed to highlight partisan voting issues or political campaigns are not allowable; the interviewee should not be a candidate for public office as this would appear to involve partisan publicity.  In addition, items that are not fundamentally educational may be considered advertising or public relations costs prohibited under 2 CFR § 200.421, Advertising and public relations costs. Examples of allowable costs would include:

  • Development and dissemination of flyers and mailings to voters about changes in voting procedures
  • Development of radio and television announcements to voters about changes in voting procedures
  • Costs associated with the airtime to broadcast radio and television announcements about changes
  • Costs associated with publishing voting procedure changes in print media

If the state is able to get these costs donated by printers, advertising companies and media outlets, the value of that donation is an allowable cost under the grant. You must maintain documentation that supports the value ascribed to the donation along with the date of the donation and other relevant documentation supporting the need. In many cases, the donor can provide information about what they normally charge for the activity, but the state is ultimately responsible for determining if that cost is reasonable and necessary. Media outlets can be helpful in determining the value of airtime and advertising costs in print media are readily available. 

There are issues to address in using media costs as donations. As noted above, costs associated with “Get out the Vote” campaigns are not allowable and states must also be careful about claiming interviews media conduct with state staff and officials. State staff may also be approached by a media outlet preparing a story about voting in the state and asking for interviews. In most cases, to meet the reasonable and necessary criteria for allowability, the state should request or initiate the coverage to ensure the content would be allowable under HAVA.  It would be difficult to include the value of interviews in which you have no or limited control over the content. Allowable media activities that are intermixed with political or other non-HAVA messages should not be considered as cost-sharing. In addition, the value of airtime can sometimes be inflated. If the state asks stations to run their announcements as PSAs, it would be important to justify the value of the airtime. 

Yes, HAVA funds in general, including CARES Act funds, can be used to develop or improve the technology, privacy, and efficiency of address confidentiality programs. Survivors of domestic and sexual violence, stalking, and trafficking should be able to receive election mail, including absentee ballots, without disclosing their physical address to the public. State-administered address confidentiality programs help victims from being located by their perpetrator through public records by providing substitute addresses and confidential mail forwarding services. However, keep in mind that you need to allocate the funds appropriately based on the benefits of the cost to the various activities of the office. If the system to develop or improve address confidentiality is also used for activities unrelated to improving the administration of federal elections or in response to the pandemic, only the percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the CARES Act grants. 

Closeout Process

In general, the EAC will close grants within 120 days of the date the grantee submits a final Federal Financial Report (FFR) and progress report. This provides both the EAC and grantees time to complete all required steps. As part of the closeout process, the EAC needs to confirm the usage of any equipment bought with grants funds that has a current fair market value over $5,000, any unused supplies with a current aggregate fair market value over $5,000, and any unexpended amount that must be returned to the U.S. Treasury.


Full closeout guidance can be found on our website: https://www.eac.gov/payments-and-grants/financial-progress-reporting

When the grantee requests a final FFR and progress report, the EAC provides closeout instructions that describes the process. The states must conduct an inventory of equipment and supplies, complete all final accounting, and close out any subgrants under the grant as part of the process. The state must also ensure the subgrantees have completed required financial and programmatic reporting, reviewed their inventory of equipment and residual supplies, and confirmed usage or requested instructions from EAC for disposition. The states then submit final FFRs and progress reports and a letter describing the disposition of equipment and supplies and certifying the completion of closeout of any subawards. Once the EAC receives and reviews the FFR, progress report, inventory lists, certification letter and any unexpended federal or interest balances are returned, we will issue a formal closeout letter describing the requirement for record retention and any other remaining requirements.


Full closeout guidance can be found on our website: https://www.eac.gov/payments-and-grants/financial-progress-reporting

The regulation at 2 CFR 200.33 defines equipment as tangible personal property (including information technology systems) having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost of $5,000 or a lesser amount if the state has a lower threshold. 

At closeout, states only need to provide an inventory list for any equipment that has a current fair market value over $5,000. If states subgrant funds, they are responsible for providing oversight for the inventory and usage of equipment at the subaward level prior to certifying their closeout.

Fair market value is what a reasonable third party would be willing to pay. The resale value is the same as fair market value. We would expect the resale value to be less than what the jurisdiction originally paid for the supplies unless there is an extreme shortage and high demand, but you should not assume that the value would be reduced without doing some documented market research. 

You can access online reseller resources to determine fair market value and document your methodology.  You could also provide guidance to your counties to access online resources, e.g.  Amazon, eBay or other reseller marketplaces, to see what the unused supplies they have are selling for on the open market.

No, however states are responsible for ensuring proper accounting and disposal of subgrantee equipment purchases. States are not required to submit inventories from their subgrantees to EAC, but states must oversee equipment purchases by their subgrantees and coordinate their disposition with EAC when the grant ends. States will submit inventories to EAC for equipment the state agency bought for its own use, but only for equipment that still has a current per unit fair market value over $5,000. For subgrantees, states follow the regulations at 2 CFR 200.305 which describe the requirements for managing and disposing of equipment. At closeout, states should request an inventory of equipment with a current fair market value over $5,000 from each subgrantee and determine how those subgrantees will continue to use and maintain the equipment. If the subgrantees are not going to continue to use the equipment for HAVA purposes, contact EAC to determine disposition of the equipment. If subgrantees will continue to use the equipment for election purposes, states will certify that subgrantees have met all financial and programmatic requirements under the grant and that equipment will continue to be used for HAVA purposes. 

See also "What is the process for equipment inventory?"

Generally, states are required to follow their own laws and procedures for using, managing and disposing of equipment during the grant period. Absent state procedures you can find the minimum requirements in 200.313 for managing equipment (including replacement equipment), whether acquired in whole or in part under a federal award, until disposition takes place.

Property records must be maintained through the life of the property that include:

  • a description of the property,
  • a serial number or other identification number,
  • the source of funding for the property (including the FAIN),
  • who holds title,
  • the acquisition date,
  • cost of the property,
  • percentage of Federal participation in the project costs for the Federal award under which the property was acquired,
  • the location,
  • use and condition of the property,
  • Status of the property including any ultimate disposition data including the date of disposal or sale price of the property.

If states subgrant funds, they must ensure their subgrantees follow the requirements at 2 CFR 200.313 for equipment which provide the parameters for equipment inventories.  This is a long-standing requirement under federal grants. At closeout, grantees inform EAC how any remaining equipment will be used once the grant closes.

When you log into Alchemer, select 'final report' and the system will populate with the additional fields you need to complete for the final report. 

Keep in mind that this final report should cover the full period of the grant and describe the accomplishments during the entire grant period for each required question.  Do not limit the response for any of the questions for this report to the last fiscal year. 

Full reporting guidance can be found on our website: https://www.eac.gov/payments-and-grants/financial-progress-reporting

For annual and mid-year reports you should have this content ready for reporting. For the final report, you can summarize the data in the narrative and supplement later with an inventory list as part of the closeout process.  You can state that you intend to do that within your response.

Yes, unexpended federal interest earned on an EAC grant must be returned to the agency. Grantees may retain up to $500 of the unexpected federal interest for administrative costs. 

Yes, once we determine the award amount that is to be returned to EAC, we will adjust your next FFR to reflect the decrease in federal award and the required match will be applied according to the updated federal award

 

Yes, your minimum required state obligations is based on your total federal expenditures. At closeout, if you have not expended the full amount of federal funding available, your state obligation would be reduced accordingly. 

See also "I received a debt collection letter, why am I getting this?"

HAVA Election Security Grants

Yes, costs associated with the purchase, installation, and maintenance of security equipment are considered allowable under HAVA to the extent it improves the administration of federal elections. These costs can include video surveillance equipment and other physical security devices, labor for installation of security systems, and the costs of maintaining those systems. These costs cannot be allocated to the federal award if they are not related to the administration of federal elections, such as physical security for non-election equipment and facilities. For example, if a jurisdiction adds security cameras to a building, only the costs of purchasing, installing, and maintaining the cameras monitoring election facilities and equipment within the building could be allocated to HAVA funds. Please be aware that Section 889 of the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act federal restricts grantees from using federal funds to purchase equipment, services, or systems that use certain Chinese telecommunications and video surveillance equipment or services.   

 

See “What is Section 889 of FY2019 NDAA?” for additional information on the prohibition. 

Yes, converting to a more secure domain is an allowable cost under the grant to increase security and improve the administration of federal elections.  However, the allocability of the costs needs to be considered.  Since the costs benefit the agency overall, not just federal elections, they must be allocated to federal and non-federal use of the domain in proportion to the benefits using any reasonable documented method. See CFR § 200.405

EAC will obligate the funds to the states in the Treasury system and issue grant award notification letters by mid to late January. The grant award letter will allow states to incur costs, effective December 21, 2019, the day after the Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed. Funds will be available for states to deposit in their state election accounts when they return a signed funding request letter and the required certifications and assurances. EAC will provide a template on the EAC website that states can use to meet the stipulations in the letter for accessing the funds.

States should request their funds immediately. Regardless of the disbursement date, states are authorized to incur costs against the grant as of December 21, 2019.

In-kind match is always a contribution by a third-party.  Expenditures that the state incurs through its own budget are cash match.  Expenditures the state incurs, regardless of whether they were formerly paid for with federal funds, can be counted as state match as long as they are expended for activities within the approved budget for the grant (allocable to the grant).  E.g. The grant budget and narrative indicate the 2020 funds will be spent for activities in support of post-election auditing and cyber security upgrades to the voter registration system.  Costs the state covers for those activities can be used as match on the grant. 

Match to the federal funds by the state or by counties can be counted as match.  Any match the state requires from local jurisdictions can be counted toward the overall required state match, not just toward the funds dedicated to that jurisdiction.

Equipment

Disposal_Sale_Destruction_Voting-Equipment_FINAL_10.13.17.pdf

There are security risks associated with the disposal, sale, or destruction of computer equipment and storage devices. Election officials must practice due diligence to properly account for all election equipment in their inventory. All election offices should develop an Incident Response Plan to monitor, detect, respond to, and mitigate incidents, such as a break in the chain of custody of equipment in their inventory, should they occur. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Cyber Incident Detection and Notification Planning Guide for Election Security provides guidance for developing a basic cyber incident response plan. The Department of Homeland Security’s Incident Handling Overview for Election Officials provides guidance on steps for handling cyber incidents. Although both guides focus on cyber incidents, the principles apply broadly to incidence response readiness.
Before disposing of, selling, or destroying any voting equipment or election technology, election officials should work with their Information Technology/Information Security support team to ensure that all necessary back-ups are made, and procedures are followed, and they comply with all laws and contractual obligations.

Chain of Custody and Inventory Control

It is critical to maintain a complete and accurate inventory of all election equipment, including ballot scanners and tabulators, ballot marking devices, communication equipment, supervisor or administrator devices such as smart cards, servers and workstations, and removable storage media. Prior to disposing of any election equipment, election officials should ensure they have a complete inventory of all election equipment. This inventory should contain at a minimum:

  • Equipment – maintain a list of equipment, serial numbers, and quantity in each physical location, such as the election office, warehouse or storage facility.
  • Machine Checkout – inventory control should track equipment when it is (1) being released and returned for an election, (2) released and returned for a       demonstration, and (3) accepted from or returned to the vendor for maintenance or repair.
  • Usage History – maintain a history of elections for which each piece of equipment has been tested and used.
  • Maintenance History – maintain a history of routine or preventive maintenance tasks completed on each individual device.
  • Repair History – maintain a history of repairs to individual devices.
  • Disposal – maintain a history of disposal for each device that includes (1) the entity or persons, method, and date when data was wiped from the device, (2) who oversaw each step in the disposal process, and (3) a record of each disposed device with the date of disposal, how it was disposed and who authorized the disposition.

Voting Technology Purchased with HAVA Funds

Equipment purchased with Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds can be disposed of either collectively as a system or individually as components, as long it meets the guidelines outlined in Common Rule requirements for disposition of equipment purchased with federal funds (41 CFR 105-71.132 or 2 CFR 200.313).

Items of equipment with a current per-unit fair market value in excess of $5,000 may be sold with the funds credited to the state/local HAVA election accounts in an amount calculated by multiplying the current market value or proceeds from sale by the HAVA (Federal and Matching Funds) share in the cost of the equipment.

In cases where the titleholder fails to take appropriate disposition actions, the EAC retains the right to direct states to take excess and disposition actions.

States and local jurisdictions can continue to use equipment purchased with HAVA funds for its original purpose for as long as needed, even if the EAC award used to purchase the equipment has been closed. Equipment may also be used for other federally supported activities currently or previously funded by a federal agency. Additionally, equipment can be traded-in for replacement equipment for same purposes.

Without prior approval from the EAC, equipment purchased with HAVA funds with a current per unit fair market value of less than $5,000, may be traded-in, sold or scrapped on an as needed basis with no further obligation to the EAC beyond recording disposition in the appropriate equipment inventory log.


The final record retention period for equipment replacement or disposition begins on the date the State submits its final Federal Financial Report (FFR) to the EAC and continues for three years. For equipment replacement or disposal after the end of the award period, the three-year record retention period begins from the time the equipment is traded-in or disposed of and continues for three additional years.


For more information about disposal, sale or destruction of election equipment purchased with HAVA funds, contact the Office of Grants Management at: havafunding@eac.gov.

Disposal and Destruction of Election Equipment

Prior to the disposal of any voting system, all equipment should be sanitized, which is the process of removing all data from a device. Solely deleting the files on the device is not sufficient as it does not remove the files from memory. Deleted files remain on the device and can still be recovered. Therefore, all equipment should be taken back to the condition of a non-functioning piece of hardware with no software or firmware remaining on the equipment. For more detailed information on determining how to sanitize election technology, see the Clearing and Sanitization Matrix from Defense Security Service in NIST Special Publication 800-88 Revision 1.
Election officials must practice due diligence to properly sanitize and dispose of election equipment. This involves at a minimum:

  1. Determining if their Information Technology/Information Security support team has a process for wiping data from memory before disposing of or selling equipment. Election officials should follow all requirements set forth by their jurisdiction. For jurisdictions without a pre-defined process, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency's (CISA) Security Tips (ST18-005) provides guidance on wiping data and disposal of electronic devices.4For computer equipment, there are tools that overwrite every sector of a hard drive multiple times that meet the Department of Defense security standards for wiping data (DOD 5220.22-M, Data Wipe Method).
  2. Confirming the destruction and disposal process with their voting system manufacturer (vendor) to make sure it is sufficient for meeting the requirements of the technology and equipment to which it is applied. If replacing old equipment with new equipment from the same vendor, consider including a requirement in the contract that the vendor take back the old equipment.
  3. Verifying there are no legal or contractual obligations that must be met before disposing of or selling any of the election equipment.

A jurisdiction may determine that it would be best to outsource the destruction and disposal of the election equipment. When utilizing this option, it is recommended that the jurisdiction exercise due diligence, including only using a disposal company that is certified by a recognized trade association or similar third party. Also, the jurisdiction should require a certificate of destruction stating that all data stored on the election equipment has been properly wiped and all hardware has been appropriately discarded. There may be local or state laws concerning electronic waste disposal and environmental or public health hazards.

Election Equipment Disposal Checklist
Election Equipment Disposal Checklist

 

About EAC

Voting System Certification

Font size is addressed in several areas of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG), mostly in the accessibility section of VVSG 1.0 (/sites/default/files/eac_assets/1/28/VVSG.1.0_Volume_1.PDF -  See sections 3 & 7) and VVSG 1.1 (/sites/default/files/eac_assets/1/28/VVSG.1.1.VOL.1.FINAL1.pdf - See sections 3 & 7).

A terminated system is one that never received certification from the EAC because the registered manufacturer terminated the application before testing was completed.

2020 HAVA Security Funds

No, for grant purposes the requirement for timekeeping applies to the grant overall, not to specific program categories within the budget.  The state may have more specific timekeeping practices that allocate staff time for its own purposes.

HAVA Grant FAQs

2020 HAVA Security Funds

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 provides $425 million to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), as authorized under Title I Section 101 of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 (P.L. 107-252), to make grant payments to states using the voting age population formula described in Sections 101 of HAVA. A chart showing how much each state is being awarded can be found on the EAC website here

Awards will be made to the entities eligible to receive federal assistance under Title I of HAVA, which includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (herein referred to as “the states”). The states may re-grant/distribute funds to local election districts/offices at their discretion. 

Even with a $425 million appropriation, some states would receive under $3,000,000 based on the formula required under the law. As required, EAC ensures all states receive at least the minimum by a proportional re-distribution from large states to those below the minimum.

The funds are available as formula, non-competitive grants. Similar to the 2018 process, states will be asked to submit a 2-3 page narrative overview of activities to be supported with the funds and a line item budget within about 90 days of receiving the Notice of Grant Award. Detailed guidance on development of the plans and budgets will be forthcoming and will include the deadline for submission of the narrative and budget. Note that the awards will be issued and funds available prior to receipt of the plan overview to expedite and support any needed expenditures ahead of the 2020 Elections. 

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 authorizes and appropriates the federal funds, titled “Election Security Grants” in the Act, and provides $425,000,000 to the Election Assistance Commission “to make payments to states for activities to improve the administration of elections for Federal office, including to enhance election technology and make election security improvements, as authorized under sections 101, 103, and 104 of [HAVA].” 

The accompanying Congressional joint explanatory statement states, “Consistent with the requirements of HAVA, states may use this funding to: replace voting equipment 

that only records a voter's intent electronically with equipment that utilizes a voter-verified paper record; implement a post-election audit system that provides a high-level of confidence in the accuracy of the final vote tally; upgrade election-related computer systems to address cyber vulnerabilities identified through [Department of Homeland Security] or similar scans or assessments of existing election systems; facilitate cybersecurity training for the state chief election official's office and local election officials; implement established cybersecurity best practices for election systems; and fund other activities that will improve the security of elections for Federal office.” 

Consistent with provisions in HAVA Section 101, states have discretion upon expenditures within general categories. The use categories described in the Congressional joint explanatory statement are consistent with aspects of Section 101(b)(1)(A), (B), (D), and (F), among other potential uses. The EAC can answer specific questions about how the money may be utilized, and will be capturing questions from states and sharing the answers in updated versions of this FAQ document. 

The EAC is committed to making funds available as soon as feasibly possible. By releasing these funds quickly, it is hoped that the grants can have an immediate impact on the 2020 election cycle. How the funds will impact the 2020 elections will be entirely determined by how and at what pace states and localities deploy the federal resources. 

It should be noted that states’ expenditures of their remaining 2018 HAVA funds will also impact the 2020 elections. 

Any HAVA funds still remaining at the state level should be tracked and reported separately from this new award. HAVA funds awarded prior to 2018 are available for use until expended and have no impact on the amount awarded for this grant program. 

No, these funds are not considered continuation funds and can’t be awarded in the same grant. Given the different matching requirement and longer budget period, we need to award the funds in a different grant. While the funds will be awarded in a separate grant and tracked and reported under a separate FFR, the activities could be very similar to activities supported under the 2018 grant. 

EAC recognizes that the grants will have similar activities. States have the option to expand the activities planned with the 2018 grant or decide to support different activities. Activities planned with limited 2018 funds, could be moved and supported under this 2020 grant. States can describe the expansions they will do in the program narrative and how those activities are distinguished from or represent expansion to the 2018 grant-funded activities. 

The funds are available under section 101 of HAVA and are considered grants. As such, states are required to follow grant requirements contained in the Code of Federal Regulations, 2 C.F.R. 200, and are subject to both programmatic and financial audits by EAC. The narrative will establish the programmatic objectives EAC will monitor over the course of the performance period. It also establishes the audit standards EAC and its Inspector General will use to ensure funds are spent according to the activities described in the program narrative and in compliance with the law. 

They are due no later than April 27, 2020. 

States must use the funds for the activities described in the Consolidated Appropriations Act and approved by EAC in the state’s program narrative. In addition, states must follow the Uniform Guidance in 2 C.F.R. 200 in determining the allowability of specific costs under the grant. Any equipment purchased under the grant must also meet HAVA requirements.

In-kind contributions are costs covered by a third-party for eligible activities under the grant, e.g. costs for training approved as part of the grant activities and paid for by another agency. They can be used to meet the match requirements. Grantees must document these kinds of contributions. 

No, they are two separate grants and must be accounted for and reported to EAC separately.

Yes, the funds can be maintained in the same account as long as you can distinguish between revenue and expenditures for each grant separately.

If you want to claim indirect costs under the grant, you must submit an indirect cost rate proposal to EAC. EAC will then work with the indirect cost unit at the Department of Health and Human Services to review and negotiate an agreement with the state.

Section 209 of HAVA states that EAC does not have the authority to issue any rule, promulgate any regulation, or take any other action which imposes any requirement on any state except to the extent permitted under a specific section of the National Voter Registration Act.  The regulations at 2 C.F.R. 200 are government-wide regulations for federal grants. They are not regulations issued or promulgated by EAC. EAC and its grantees are subject to these and other government-wide regulations.

No. You can only use state expenditures incurred during the period of the grant as match. Only the portion that falls within the grant period can be used as match.

Sections 107–110 of the C.F.R. describe Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and agency responsibilities related to reviewing and implementing the regulations in 2 C.F.R. 200.  They apply to EAC and its grantees.

Grantees must establish timekeeping practices for employees paid in part or in whole with federal funds or whose time is being allocated as match on the grant.  The regulations at 2 C.F.R. 200 section 430 (i), Standards for Documentation of Personnel Expenses, provide general guidance on timekeeping. They indicate that charges to grants for salaries and wages must be based on records that reflect the work performed, be supported by a system that provides reasonable assurance that the  charges are accurate and properly allocated to the grant, reflect the total activity of the staff person, not just the activity related to the grant, and be incorporated into the official records of the grantee.  

2018 HAVA Election Security Funds

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 provides $380 million to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), as authorized under Title I Section 101 of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 (P.L. 107-252), to make grant payments to states using the voting age population formula described in Sections 101 and 103 of HAVA. A chart showing how much each state is being awarded can be found at /2018funding.

Awards will be made to the entities eligible to receive federal assistance under Title I of HAVA, which includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands (herein referred to as “the states”). The states may re-grant/distribute funds to local election districts/offices at their discretion.

EAC will obligate the funds to the states in the Treasury system and issue grant award notification letters by mid to late January. The grant award letter will allow states to incur costs, effective December 21, 2019, the day after the Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed. Funds will be available for states to deposit in their state election accounts when they return a signed funding request letter and the required certifications and assurances. EAC will provide a template on the EAC website that states can use to meet the stipulations in the letter for accessing the funds.

States should request their funds immediately. Regardless of the disbursement date, states are authorized to incur costs against the grant as of December 21, 2019.

The funds are available as formula, non-competitive grants. States will be asked to submit a 2-3 page narrative overview of activities to be supported with the funds and a line item budget within 90 days of receiving their Notice of Grant Awards. Detailed guidance on development of the plans and budgets will be forthcoming. Note that the awards will be issued and funds available for drawdown prior to receipt of the plan overview to expedite and support any needed expenditures ahead of the 2018 Election.

States are required to match the federal funds awarded according to the level of match specified in HAVA or set in the annual appropriations law. HAVA sets a 5% state match to Section 251 funds that must be deposited in an Election Fund described in Section 251 (b). HAVA does not set a required state match for Section 101 funds, but appropriations language may specify a matching requirement, e.g., Election Security grants.

If appropriations language sets a match requirement for Section 101 funds, the language may also specify a deadline for state to identify how they will meet the match or appropriate state funds for the match. The states then have the remaining period of the grant to meet the matching requirements. Under this scenario for Section 101 funds, states may either deposit matching funds in their state election accounts or track eligible funds/activities from their state and local general operating budgets to meet the match obligations. State and local funds used for match must be different from funds used to meet Maintenance of Effort or state match associated with HAVA Requirement Payments. American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are exempt from the match requirement.

Consistent with provisions in HAVA, states have discretion upon expenditures. The EAC can answer specific questions about how the money may be utilized, and will be capturing questions from states and sharing the answers in updated versions of this FAQ document. 

As a point of reference, the EAC is including along with these FAQs the section of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 that authorizes and appropriates the federal funds as well as pages 1 and 57 of “Division E – Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2018,” which is a joint explanatory statement that indicates congressional intent on how the funds may be spent. The joint explanatory language provides on page 57, that:

The bill provides $380,000,000 to the Election Assistance Commission to make payments to states for activities to improve the administration of elections for Federal office, including to enhance election technology and make election security improvements, as authorized under sections 101, 103, and 104 of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 (P.L. 107-252). Consistent with the requirements of HAVA, states may use this funding to

  1. Replace voting equipment that only records a voter's intent electronically with equipment that utilizes a voter verified paper record;
  2. Implement a post-election audit system that provides a high level of confidence in the accuracy of the final vote tally;
  3. Upgrade election­ related computer systems to address cyber vulnerabilities identified through Department of Homeland Security, or similar scans or assessments of, existing election systems;
  4. Facilitate cybersecurity training for the state chief election official's office and local election officials;
  5. Implement established cybersecurity best practices for election systems; and
  6. Fund other activities that will improve the security of elections for Federal office.

The EAC is committed to making funds available as soon as feasibly possible. By releasing these funds quickly, it is hoped that the grants can have an immediate impact on the 2018 election cycle. How the funds will impact the 2018 elections will be entirely determined by how and at what pace states and localities deploy the federal resources. 

The charts below provide the reporting cycles for HAVA grants. Progress reports for 101 & 251 grants are submitted both annually and semi-annually. Progress reports for Election Security grants are submitted only annually

PR Due Dates:  Section 101 and Section 251 Grants

Progress Report Annual Semi-Annual
Reporting Period End Date September 30 March 31
Report Submission Due Date

December 29

April 30

 

 

 

 

PR Due Dates:  Election Security Grants

Progress Report Annual
Reporting Period End Date September 30
Report Submission Due Date

December 29

 

 

 

 

**For the grantees who have NOT received their 2022 Election Security awards, the current semi-annual/annual reporting periods will continue.

 

FFR Due Dates:  Section 101 and Section 251 Grants

FFR Annual Semi-Annual
Reporting Period End Date September 30 March 31
Report Submission Due Date

December 29

April 30

 

 

FFR Due Dates: Election Security Grants

FFR Annual Quarterly Quarterly Quarterly
Reporting Period End Date September 30 December 31 March 31 July 30
Report Submission Due Date

December 29

January 30

April 30

August 30

 

 

**For the grantees who have NOT received their 2022 Election Security awards, the current semi-annual/annual reporting periods will continue. Quarterly financial reporting engages with the 2022 award.

Any HAVA funds still remaining at the state level should be tracked and reported separately from this new award. HAVA funds disbursed in earlier years are available for use until expended and have no impact on the amount awarded for this grant program.

Yes. A quorum is not needed to distribute funds to states.

Yes, this is an allowable expenditure and EAC encourages states and localities to explore this type of expenditure as an immediate way to augment cyber capabilities already in place.

The states have a great deal of flexibility in how they deploy the federal grant funds.  The Reserve category on the budget worksheets are for funds that have not yet been budgeted by the States. As needs or threats become apparent, the funds designated in Reserve will move to other categories on the budget worksheet.  

Allowable Costs for 2018 HAVA Funds

HAVA funds may be used to replace any voting equipment designated by the grantee or its subrecipients to be at the end of its useful life. The replacement must meet the standards established by HAVA, appropriations language, and any other applicable EAC guidance. Equipment title holders should follow local and state rules for the disposition of sensitive equipment.

Travel and lodging are allowable costs under the grant. If the conference directly supports the mission/activities of the election jurisdiction sending the employee, then this would be an allowable expense.

The 2018 HAVA Election Security grant funds can be used for accessibility. Each state, and in some cases local jurisdictions if funds have been subgranted, have discretion on how the funds should be spent.  EAC encourages states to spend funds on accessibility.
Voters

Election Results

Each state has a chief election official, who has an oversight or advisory role over state and federal elections. However, elections are usually administered at the county level, though in some states cities or townships run elections. No two states administer elections in the same way, and there can be variations within a single state. Elections can be run by a single individual or department, a board or commission of elections, or a combination of two or more entities.  

Election administration in America is highly decentralized. There are more than 10,000 election jurisdictions in the U.S. The size of these jurisdictions varies, with the smallest towns having only a few hundred registered voters and the largest jurisdiction in the country with over 5 million. Local election officials also rely on trained poll workers (often bipartisan) who assist voters during early voting and on Election Day. Through its clearinghouse function, the EAC provides guidance and best practices to assist election officials, but the EAC does not have regulatory oversite of elections. 

Find out more about who runs elections in your state, by visiting eac.gov/vote. 

 

Poll workers are essential to running elections. Poll workers are responsible for opening the polls on election morning; checking in voters and issuing ballots; assisting voters; implementing election laws and procedures; maintaining the chain of custody of ballots, voting equipment, and supplies; closing the polls; and reconciling the number of voters checked in with the number of ballots cast at their location.  

Typically, poll workers are trained by local election officials and work in teams (often bipartisan). Poll workers swear an oath to uphold election laws and protect the security of the election.    

Contact your local elections office or visit helpamericavote.gov to find information about how to sign up as a poll worker in your state.  

Election observers, sometimes called “poll watchers,” are members of the public that may observe steps in the election process. Each state has its own laws and procedures on who can observe the election but generally, election observers may be members of organizations such as a political party or nonpartisan group, candidate representatives, international observers, exit polling groups, academics or relevant federal and state agencies.  

The role of a poll watcher is to observe and monitor the election, without violating voter privacy or disrupting the election. The rules that govern poll watchers vary by state. Contact your local elections office for more information about the rights and responsibilities of poll watchers in your community. Find out more about election observation in your state by visiting eac.gov/vote. 

Preliminary election results are transmitted by local jurisdictions to state election officials after the polls close on Election Day. Unofficial results are then posted on the state’s election website and reported to the media. Those preliminary results may change after Election Day as election officials continue to count all eligible ballots, including provisional ballots, absentee and mail ballots, and ballots cast by military and overseas voters. Once all ballots are counted, reconciled, and certified in what is called a canvass, final results are posted and reported, which may take several days or sometimes weeks. 

Visit eac.gov/vote for quick links to your state or territory’s elections website for information about state election results. 

Election officials count as many ballots on election night as possible, but election night results are unofficial and never final. Each state has different rules for when mail, provisional, and military and overseas ballots can be counted. For example, some states require all mail ballots to be received by Election Day. Others allow mail ballots to be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day and received by a certain date.   

Once all the ballots have been received, the canvass begins. This process usually involves analyzing vote totals to identify and resolve any discrepancies between the number of voters and the number of ballots cast. Most states also conduct audits to further verify the vote totals are accurate.   

Once the canvass (and in many states, audits) has been completed, the election results are certified as final. For more information about election results, canvass and certification, see: https://www.eac.gov/election-officials/election-results-canvass-and-certification  

Some races or contests may be recounted after the certification process because the contest was close or a candidate or interest group requests it. Recounts differ from audits in that every ballot in a contest or a subset of contests in the election is recounted, and the official results of the election may change as a result.   

The security of voting systems is essential to trustworthy elections. The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) develops voluntary voting system guidelines (VVSG), which are a set of specifications and requirements, including security and integrity standards, that voting systems must meet in order to receive certification. The EAC also accredits voting labs that test voting systems to these standards. Participation in the EAC testing and certification program is voluntary, but most states use the EAC’s testing and certification program. States may also choose to enact stricter requirements for voting systems.  

Every state and local jurisdiction utilizes common-sense procedures and tools to safeguard the voting process and ensure its election results can be trusted. Common best practices include using locks, tamper-evident seals, security cameras, system testing before and after elections, audits, and physical and cybersecurity access controls. Each state also has a chief election official who ensures these laws and procedures are strictly followed.  

Common security measures for voting systems: 

  • Purchasing tested and certified voting systems 

  • Programming all devices according to local laws and regulations 

  • Testing the accuracy of voting equipment before elections 

  • Conducting elections with bipartisan poll workers and observers 

  • Verifying the total number of voted ballots matches the total number of voters 

  • Auditing the ballots to ensure that the voting equipment counted votes accurately 

  • Documenting and verifying by at least two (ideally bipartisan) witnesses the transfer of all ballots and voting equipment from one team or place to the next  

  • Maintaining physical security access controls 

Ballots always remain in the custody of the local election officials conducting the election. Ballots are also required to be securely stored after the election so that they can be reviewed as part of an audit or recount. For more information about election security, see: https://www.eac.gov/voters/election-security. 

Visit eac.gov/vote for quick links to your state or territory’s elections website for information about election security in your state. 

There are many processes and procedures in place to assure the public that the outcome of elections can be trusted. Election officials often receive state training and professional instruction in election administration.  Almost every part of the election process requires the participation of two or more trained officials who’ve sworn an oath to uphold all election laws and protect the security of the election. Election observers, sometimes called “poll watchers,” may also be present to monitor or observe the election. 

Voting machines, including ballot scanners are tested and certified to certain accuracy standards. Most states require logic and accuracy tests on voting systems prior to each election. In addition to pre-election testing, most states also require audits after every election. During an audit, election officials review paper ballots to confirm the accuracy of the machine count. Audits ensure the ballots were counted as voters intended and that the results of the election are reliable. More information about audits can be found in the EAC report Election Audits Across the United States.  

Visit eac.gov/vote for quick links to your state or territory’s elections website for information about how ballots are counted in your state. 

One of the basic tenets of democracy is that each person has only one vote. Election officials take many steps to ensure that voters only cast one ballot in an election, or if a voter casts more than one ballot (i.e., votes a mailed ballot and then attempts to vote in person on Election Day), that only one ballot is counted. To do this, election officials are responsible for maintaining current and accurate voter lists, and many states compare registration and voting records with other states. Election officials keep detailed records of when voters are issued ballots, and whether those ballots are cast. 

If a voter’s eligibility cannot be verified (e.g., the voter was not on the list of eligible voters, the voter's information was incomplete or not accurate, or the voter had already received a ballot in the mail and was allowed to vote), they may be allowed to vote a provisional or fail-safe ballot. Provisional ballots are kept separate from other ballots and will only be processed and counted if the election official has verified the voter is eligible and has not already voted in the election. 

When a voter requests a mail ballot, election officials verify that the request was made by the voter before issuing the ballot. When a ballot is returned to the elections office, officials (often bi-partisan teams) verify the signature or other identifying information on the ballot envelope to make sure it was cast by the voter. If required information is missing or incomplete, or if a signature is required and doesn’t match the one on file, the ballot will not be counted. In some cases, the voter may be notified and given an opportunity to correct the issue. 

Visit eac.gov/vote for quick links to your state or territory’s elections website for information about how ballots are tracked and counted in your state. 

Voting By Mail

All states offer in-person options for voters to cast their ballot on Election Day. In some states, voters need to go to a specific location to vote on Election Day, while others provide vote centers where any voter in the jurisdiction can cast their ballot.  

Visit eac.gov/vote for quick links to your state or territory’s elections website to find your polling location, the hours, and if you need to bring anything (such as an ID) with you to vote.  

Many states allow voters to cast a ballot in-person before Election Day. In some states, early voting may involve casting a ballot at the local elections office, while in others you may vote at a polling location similar to voting on Election Day.  To find out if your state offers in-person voting before Election Day and where you can vote, visit eac.gov/vote, select your state or territory, and click the link for ‘Absentee/Mail and/or Early Voting Information.’ 

Every state has their own rules on who can vote by mail. Some states require an excuse to vote by mail, some allow anyone to request a mail ballot, and others automatically send all voters a ballot in the mail. Examples of excuses may include illness, injury, disability, over a certain age, traveling outside of your community on Election Day, being a college student away from home, or serving in the military.  If you request a mail ballot, make sure to review the deadline to return your ballot in time for it to be counted (including the estimated time for mailing). 

If you have received an absentee or mail ballot, carefully read the instructions on how and when to return the mail ballot.  

  • Fill out all the information requested on the return envelope. Some states require a notary or witness signature on the envelope when returning a mail ballot.  

  • Unless your return envelope says the postage is pre-paid, be sure there is enough postage on the return envelope before putting your ballot in the mail.  

  • Per USPS recommendation, mail your ballot back at least one week prior to the state deadline to make sure it reaches the elections office in time.  

  • Depending on your jurisdiction’s laws and procedures, you may be able to return your mail ballot in person or by a drop box in your jurisdiction.  

Many states allow voters to track the status of their mail ballots online. 

Note: Election officials take your privacy seriously, and multiple steps are taken to ensure that your votes remain private. Election officials keep a record of whether you cast a ballot, but they are never able to tell how you voted.    

You can find more information about voting by mail in your state, including information about mail ballot tracking if offered in your state, at eac.gov/vote

Accessibility for Voting by Mail 

Check with your state or local elections office for information about accessible options for requesting, marking, and returning your mail ballot. For more information about accessibility in the voting by mail process, please see Best Practices: Accessibility for Voting by Mail

Some states allow voters to return their mail/absentee ballots in a secure drop box. Drop boxes eliminate the need for return postage because they allow voters to return their ballot directly to election officials, instead of using the postal service. This can be useful for voters who may not have enough time to return their ballot through the mail. 

To vote using a drop box: 

  • Place your ballot inside the return ballot envelope and fill out all the information requested on the return envelope. Some states require a notary or witness signature on the envelope when returning a mail ballot.    

  • Return your ballot to a drop box in your community. (Note: Make sure the drop box is clearly marked as belonging to the county, city, or township in which you live.)  

  • If using a drop box, make sure to return your mail ballot no later than the close of polls on Election Day.  

Each state has its own rules and requirements for securing drop boxes. Often, these requirements include specific locks or seals, video surveillance, and chain of custody requirements. Some states and localities only place drop boxes in government buildings or secure designated locations in a jurisdiction. Only election officials (often bipartisan teams) are authorized to collect ballots once they are placed in a drop box. To learn more about how election officials secure drop boxes, see guidance issued by the EAC and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) on effectively using and securing drop boxes.  

Visit eac.gov/vote for quick links to your state or territory’s elections website to confirm whether drop boxes are available in your area.  

Military and overseas voters and their families have unique challenges to voting. Among other protections, federal law requires that (1) military and overseas voters can register and receive a ballot electronically, and (2) a ballot is mailed no later than 45 days before federal elections. Many states have additional protections for military and overseas voters for all elections, not just federal elections.  

State law will determine residency requirements for overseas citizens to vote in state and federal elections. The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) has resources for service members, their families, and overseas citizens who wish to vote. Voters can use FVAP’s Voting Assistance Guide to find more information about voting in their state, and how to request and return their ballot. 

Each state has its own set of laws that govern how elections are run, but there are several federal laws that protect voting rights for eligible U.S. citizens. The 1965 Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination and requires jurisdictions to allow voting assistance in all but a couple of circumstances, and the Help America Vote Act provides that (1) voters must be able to vote privately and independently, (2) they must be given the opportunity to change or correct their ballot before it is cast, and (3) allows voters to vote a provisional or fail-safe ballot.  

 

Your Rights When Voting 

Federal election laws help protect your voting rights and the election process. Generally, voters have the right to: 

  • Vote if they are still in line when the polls close  

  • Ask for another ballot if they make a mistake  

  • Ask for a provisional ballot if they are not on the voter list at their polling location 

  • Ask for language assistance from a poll worker if they need help reading or understanding how to vote 

  • Not be intimidated or harassed while voting 

 

Voting with a Disability 

Federal law also provides protection for voters with disabilities. Specifically, voters with disabilities have the right to:  

  • Vote privately and independently  

  • Have an accessible polling location with voting machines for voters with disabilities  

Voters may either:  

  • Seek assistance from workers at their polling location who have been trained to use the accessible voting machine, or  

  • Bring someone to help them vote  

Voters may request information about voting aids, voting assistance, and absentee ballot procedures that are available.  

For more information, visit eac.gov/vote or contact the U.S. Election Assistance Commission by phone at 866-747-1471 or by email at listen@eac.gov. Information about the Americans with Disabilities Act is available at ada.gov

 

Additional Resources 

The best source of information for your state’s voter registration and voting laws is your state or local elections office. Visit eac.gov/vote for quick links to your state or territory’s elections website. 

You can find more information about federal laws on Civil Rights Division’s website justice.gov/crt/voting-section

For a list of federal voting rights laws and protections, as well as other voting information, visit usa.gov/voting and vote.gov

Voter Registration

In all states except North Dakota, you need to be registered to vote to participate in an election. Eligibility requirements vary by state, but generally to register to vote, you must be: 

  • A U.S. citizen 

  • At least 18 years old by Election Day 

  • Meet certain residency requirements 

You can register to vote in-person, by mail, and in many states online. If you are not already registered or need to update your registration, make sure to do so by your state’s deadline. Several states allow voters to register on Election Day, but other states have a deadline up to 30 days before the election.  

Some states may allow people who are under 18 to pre-register to vote, so they can vote as soon as they are eligible.  

Visit eac.gov/vote for quick links to your state or territory’s elections website to find more information on registration requirements. You can also download and print the National Mail Voter Registration Form. This form can be used to register to vote in every state except North Dakota, New Hampshire, and Wyoming, and it is available in 21 languages. To download this form, go to: https://www.eac.gov/voters/national-mail-voter-registration-form  

The process to change your political party affiliation is usually the same as the process to register to vote.  

Some states require you to declare your party affiliation when registering, while others do not track your party affiliation. If your state tracks party affiliation, there will be a question on your voter registration from for you to declare your political party affiliation. 

Some states require voters to register with a party affiliation to vote in primary elections.  In general elections (which typically take place in November), you can vote for any candidate you prefer, regardless of party affiliation.   

 Visit eac.gov/vote for quick links to your state or territory’s elections website where you can find more information. 

The process to update your voter registration is usually the same as the process to register to vote. 

Update your voter registration information if:  

  • You move  

  • You change your name  

  • You want to change your political party affiliation  

  • You haven’t voted in the past four years 

Visit eac.gov/vote for quick links to your state or territory’s elections website to find your options for registering to vote. You can also submit a paper National Mail Voter Registration Form to your local elections office. This form can be used to re-register to vote in every state except North Dakota, New Hampshire, and Wyoming, and it is available in 21 languages. 

Each state makes its own voting rules, including how to confirm your registration. You can usually check your voter registration information online or by contacting your local elections office. If you are already registered to vote, it’s important to check to make sure your voter registration information is current and accurate, especially if you have recently moved or changed your name. Visit eac.gov/vote for quick links to your state or territory’s elections website to get the most detailed and up to date information for where you live.  

States and local jurisdictions have different options for voters who wish to cancel their voter registration. If you are registered to vote and would like to cancel or withdraw your voter registration, your local elections office can assist you. Visit eac.gov/vote for quick links to your state or territory’s elections website where you can find a directory of location elections offices.  

If you receive election mail for someone who no longer lives at your address or who has died, contact your local elections office to let them know.  

Maintaining up-to-date voter registration lists is critical for election administration. All states take steps to keep voter registration lists current, but sometimes elections offices don’t know that someone has moved or died. Visit eac.gov/vote for quick links to your state or territory’s elections website where you can find a directory of local elections offices. 

National Mail Voter Registration Form

Form

There are several ways you can update your voter registration and many states now allow you to do this online.
 
The first method we recommend is visiting your state website. Some states allow for online registration and updates to your registration, while others require you to print out a form and mail it in. Find your state and registration information here: /voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state/
 
Alternatively, you can use the National Mail Voter Registration form. Visit our website (/voters/national-mail-voter-registration-form/) and make sure you follow the instructions specific to your state to register or update your registration information.
 
If you are going to the DMV to change your address on your license, you can also select to register or update your voter registration information on the forms you fill out while you are there.
There are several ways you can update your voter registration and many states now allow you to do this online.
 
The first method we recommend is visiting your state website. Some states allow for online registration and updates to your registration, while others require you to print out a form and mail it in. Find your state and registration information here: /voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state/
 
Alternatively, you can use the National Mail Voter Registration form. Visit our website (/voters/national-mail-voter-registration-form/) and make sure you follow the instructions specific to your state to register or update your registration information.
 
If you are going to the DMV to change your address on your license, you can also select to register or update your voter registration information on the forms you fill out while you are there.
There are several ways you can update your voter registration and many states now allow you to do this online.
 
The first method we recommend is visiting your state website. Some states allow for online registration and updates to your registration, while others require you to print out a form and mail it in. Find your state and registration information here: /voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state/
 
Alternatively, you can use the National Mail Voter Registration form. Visit our website (/voters/national-mail-voter-registration-form/) and make sure you follow the instructions specific to your state to register or update your registration information.
 
If you are going to the DMV to change your address on your license, you can also select to register or update your voter registration information on the forms you fill out while you are there.
There are several ways you can update your voter registration and many states now allow you to do this online.
 
The first method we recommend is visiting your state website. Some states allow for online registration and updates to your registration, while others require you to print out a form and mail it in. Find your state and registration information here: /voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state/
 
Alternatively, you can use the National Mail Voter Registration form. Visit our website (/voters/national-mail-voter-registration-form/) and make sure you follow the instructions specific to your state to register or update your registration information.
 
If you are going to the DMV to change your address on your license, you can also select to register or update your voter registration information on the forms you fill out while you are there.
Contact your state or county, because certain states receive notification from other state agencies while other's require notification from family. 
 
The contact info for each state is available here: /voters/election-day-contact-information/

Please reach out to the county elections office in the state you were registered in and still want to be registered in and tell them what happened. It sounds like South Carolina is the correct state so I did a quick search on https://www.scvotes.org/ for a contact number for the South Carolina Election Commission and I found this number: Main: (803) 734-9060.

You must contact the local county board of elections, for Florida, let them know you have moved and registered in another state and request to be removed from the voter registration rolls for Florida. To get the contact number for the local county board of elections, go to http://dos.elections.myflorida.com/supervisors/, type in your city, scroll down to the city and there will be the contact information.

To be able to vote while out of the country you must apply for an absentee ballot.  To do this, please go to https://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingAbsentee.html and review the information on absentee voting.  If you have any questions please contact your county board of elections (the listing of the county boards is located in the sentence under "Download Spanish Form") and they will further explain the process for you.

I understand you would like to know if you can vote from your home and not physically go to a polling location. some states have this availability, but it is mostly for voters who are physically incapable of getting to the polling locations. Since the election laws vary from state to state it is best for you to contact your local state board of elections. They will be able to assist you with this information.
You may change your party affiliation on the national voter registration form on #7.  Please go to the web page below for instructions:
 
Voting System Testing and Certification

Voting Systems Map

An EAC certified voting system has been tested by a federally accredited test laboratory and has successfully met the requirements of federal voting system standards and/or guidelines.

No. According to the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), participation by the states in EAC's certification program or adoption of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) is voluntary. However, states may formally adopt the VVSG, making these guidelines mandatory in their jurisdictions.

No. HAVA does not require states to use voting systems that have been certified by EAC. Although participation in the program is voluntary, adherence to the program’s procedural requirements is mandatory for participants. Many states chose to participate by using hardware and/or software components of an EAC certified voting system without using the fully certified voting system product suite.

The federal government’s first voting system certification program began operations in January, 2007.

For more information about EAC's Voting System Certification and Testing Program, visit the FAQ page.

If you are familiar with Google Maps, you can use our voting systems map. Click and drag or use the directional circle in the top left corner of the map to move around. You can zoom in and out with 

The blue or yellow upside down teardrops on the map are called pins. The pins point to where an EAC Certified Voting System is in use. When you click on the pin, it gives you information about the exact location of the voting system, the voting system name, and a link to more information about the voting system, including test plans, test reports, and any system advisory alerts that may have been issued about the system. Blue pins represent jurisdictions using each and every component of an EAC certified voting system. Yellow pins represent jurisdictions using one or more components from an EAC certified voting system.

:  Explanation for the colors in the map can be found below the map in the key. Purple means that the state has no federal requirements for voting systems. Relevant state statutes and/or regulations make no mention of any federal agency, certification program, laboratory, or standard. Green means that the state requires that its voting systems be tested by a federally accredited laboratory. Relevant state statutes and/or regulations require testing by a federally or nationally accredited laboratory to federal standards. Orange means that the state requires testing its voting systems to federal standards. Relevant state statutes and/or rules require testing to federal voting system standards. (States reference standards drafted by the Federal Election Commission, National Institute of Standards and Technology, or the Election Assistance Commissioner). Blue means that the states require federal certification for its voting systems. Relevant state statutes and/or rules require that voting systems be certified by a federal agency.

Florida doesn’t require the use of federally certified voting systems, but many of their counties use systems or system components that have been certified by EAC. Florida, as with some other states, doesn’t require the use of federally certified voting systems per state law. It is EAC’s practice to disclose information about EAC-certified systems in the field, regardless of whether the state participates in the federal program.

Research

Election Administration and Voting Survey

The Election Administration and Voting Survey provides information related to election administration, registration and voting.

The survey includes national, state, and county-level data on:

  • Voter Registration 
  • Uniformed and Overseas Voters 
  • Early, Absentee, and Provisional Voting 
  • Voting Equipment Usage 
  • Poll Workers, Polling Places, and Precincts

The Election Administration and Voting Survey is sent to election officials in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories – Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The EAC released its first survey in 2004 under authority granted to the commission by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. Section 202 of HAVA requires the EAC to serve as a national clearinghouse and resource for the compilation of information and review of procedures with respect to the administration of Federal elections. Section 202(3) authorizes the EAC to conduct studies and carry out other duties and activities to promote the effective administration of Federal elections.

HAVA mandates that the Commission collect information related to the processes and procedures used to register voters and to serve uniformed and overseas citizens wishing to vote. The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993 required the Federal Election Commission (and subsequently, the Election Assistance Commission) to report to Congress by June 30 of the year following a Federal election on the impact of the Act on the administration of elections and to include recommendations for improvements in procedures, forms, and other matters affected by the Act.

Section 703 of HAVA mandates that for each regularly scheduled general election for Federal office, the EAC shall collect comprehensive data from the states on all of the ballots sent to military and overseas voters and received back by election administrators. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) of 1986 protects the voting rights of members of the uniformed services and U.S. citizens residing outside of the country.

In addition, the EAC uses the Election Administration and Voting Survey to learn more about other timely and important election administration issues, for example, from the use of electronic poll books to the prevalence of voter registration processes being conducted via the Internet.

The information collection associated with the Election Administration and Voting Survey is conducted every two years following a federal election.

Every two years, the EAC administers the survey to 55 States and territories, requesting election administration-related data at the county-level or county-level equivalent. Most states rely at least to some degree on centralized voter registration databases and voter history databases, which allow state election officials to respond to the survey at the local level for each question. Other states rely on cooperation from county election offices to complete the survey.

The Election Administration and Voting Survey report provides the state-reported figures for U.S. voter participation and registration, as well as the estimated voting age population and estimated citizen voting age population as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

EAC makes all of its data publicly available for interested parties to examine and analyze. The Election Administration and Voting Survey data can be found on the EAC website. For questions about a specific state’s data, please review the data and contact the state’s election office for more information.

Please refer to our EAVS Fact Sheet, or call the EAC at 1-866-747-1471/301-563-3919 or send an e-mail to clearinghouse@eac.gov.

One approach is to use our 2016 EAVS data which can be found here: /research-and-data/datasets-codebooks-and-surveys/. Specifically registration data is in Section A, and registered voter numbers for the 2016 election cycle can be found in question A1. However the Iowa Secretary of State updates registration totals monthly. They just released their most recent registration report, dated Oct. 2, 2017: https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/VRStatsArchive/2017/CoOct17.pdf. Emmet's County information is listed there. 
 
We don't have total population in our dataset. The report also does not have county-level data of voting age citizens. That data can be found at the US Census website. This is the most recent data from the Census for county-level estimates and should be noted doesn't match the time frame of our registration data. Our registration data is numbers reported from the states from after the 2014 election up to the November 2016 election. The Census data is estimates taken from a 5-year survey average from 2011 - 2015. 
HAVA Section 251, 101, 102 Grants

Voting Systems/Equipment Purchases

Insurance (including cyber insurance) is an allowable expense per HAVA 101(b)(1)(B) and 2 CFR §200.447. Costs must be allocated based on the benefit to the improvement of the administration of elections for Federal Office, per 2 CFR § 200.405 and HAVA 101(b)(1)(B). An allocation methodology representative to the benefit of federal elections should be included when allowing and allocating cyber insurance costs. An expenditure for cyber insurance should follow the limitations set by §200.447 as well as general allocation principles for HAVA grants. 

 

For additional guidance on insurance please see the FAQ titled “May a state use HAVA funds to lease or purchase buildings or equipment?” 

States and its counties may use funds distributed under Section 101 or Section 251 to purchase voting equipment used to conduct absentee voting as long as that equipment meets the requirements of Section 301(a) of HAVA. The definition of voting systems in Section 301(b) of HAVA includes equipment used to administer absentee voting. As such, no pre-approval from the EAC is required prior to purchase. However, cost reasonableness must still be considered in selecting the equipment. The cost must be reasonably related to the value of the equipment purchased.

Yes. States and counties may use funds distributed under Section 101 or Section 251 to purchase additional accessible voting equipment if that equipment meets the requirements of Section 301(a) of HAVA.

The answer depends on whether the purchase of VVPAT is part of the purchase of a compliant voting system (under Section 301(a)) or if it is purchased as a retrofit for a compliant voting system. If it is a component of a voting system that is being purchased, then Section 251 funds can be used to the same extent that they are available to meet the requirements of Title III. However, if the VVPAT is purchased as a retrofit, then 251 funds can be used ONLY to the extent that they can be used to improve the administration of federal elections (see 251(b)(2)), as VVPAT is not a required component of voting systems under section 301(a) and would serve only to improve the administration of elections.

Completing the Federal Financial Report

Interest earned on state matching funds should be included in Line 10(i) in the Recipient Share section. Line 10(i) will include the initial required match, interest earned on the recipient share and net program income earned. (Program income will not be reported on lines 10(l – o) because EAC uses that Program Income section to track interest earned on the federal funds). It is likely that only a state’s 251 state match earns interest because that match must be deposited in the Election Fund with the federal funds. Under Section 101, any required state match does not have to be cash deposited in the interest-bearing Election Fund.

Interest earned on the federal share is reported in the Federal Interest section of the FFR on lines 10. p - r. We must track interest generated on federal funds separately, so we have dedicated the following lines:

10 p. Total Federal interest earned

10q. Federal interest expenditures

10r. Remaining Federal interest to be expended (line p minus q)

True program income is reported as part of the Recipient Share on Line 10(i) using the additive method, and in Box 12 Remarks.

See also “What is net program income and how is it reported on the Federal Financial Report (FFR)?”

On the Section 251 FFR you will record this transfer by adding the funds to Line 10(l) under Program Income. Use the comments box to record the amount and date of the transfer. On the Section 102 FFR, show the amount transferred on Line 10(n), which will leave the Final FFR for Section 102 with a balance of zero on line 10(o). Use the comments box to note the date and amount of the transfer. EAC has authorized some individual States to make this transfer, but we will also issue a general memorandum authorizing this transfer in the coming days.

You must report expenditures separately for each grant awarded by EAC. Those grants could include an older 101 grant, a Title II, Section 251 grant, CARES funding, and a 101 Election Security grant.

Yes, we have added fillable versions of the form to our website.

Program income is income you earn as a direct result of activities supported under the grant.  For example, if you developed cyber security training materials with grant funds and charge your voting districts for them, the funds you receive in payment are program income.  Net program income is the amount of income remaining after deducting the costs of providing the materials to voting districts, such as shipping costs. If you include expenses incurred related to program income in the expenditures on the report, you should report total program income on Line 10(l), not net income.

Equipment

Leasing equipment is considered an allowable expense under OMB Circular A-87, according to the limitations and conditions of Attachment B, Section 37,

Rental Costs of Buildings and Materials. The limitations include that “sale and lease back” arrangements cannot cost the state or local government more than when it owned the property. The costs include expenses such as depreciation or use allowance, maintenance, taxes, and insurance. A “less-than-arms-length” agreement (i.e., a state government established a corporation to own the property then leases it back to the state) cannot cost the state or local government more than if title had vested in the state or local government. Rental costs under leases which are required to be treated as capital leases under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) are allowable only up to the amount that would be allowed had the state or local government purchased the property on the date the lease agreement was executed. The provisions of Financial Accounting Standards Board Statement 13, Accounting for Leases, determine whether a lease is a capital lease. The determination is based on factors such as if the lease transfers ownership of the property to the lessee by the end of the lease term; contains a bargain purchase option; the lease term is equal to 75 percent or more of the estimated economic life of the leased property unless the lease term falls within the last 25 percent of the total estimated economic life of the leased property; or the present value at the beginning of the lease term of the minimum lease payments excluding executory costs such as insurance, maintenance, and taxes to be paid by the lessor, including any profit, equals or exceeds 90 percent of the excess of the fair value of the leased property to the lessor at the inception of the lease.

Yes. Consistent with standard federal guidelines, the state may authorize use in the office or official duty station on an occasional basis, provided that the use involves minimal or negligible additional expense and does not interfere with official business. Employees are expected to exercise common sense and good judgment in the personal use of equipment. The conduct of official business always takes precedence over any limited personal use. Such personal use would be so small that accounting for it would be unreasonable or impractical.

General Purpose Equipment/Furniture

Cellular phones would generally be considered an allowable cost. Cost principles such as allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered.

Storage cabinets and shelving are allowable costs if they are not covered by the required maintenance of effort. See Section 254(a)(7). Cost principles such as allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered. For example, if the security cages and shelving will not be used exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant.

High speed letter openers are an allowable cost for this stated purpose. Allocability and cost reasonableness must be considered in assessing the propriety of this type of expense. If the letter opener will not be used exclusively for the purpose of opening absentee ballots, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Similarly, depending on the volume of mail it may be more reasonable to manually open the letters.

This type of mail processing system is an allowable cost for the stated purpose. However, allocability and cost reasonableness must be considered to fully assess the appropriateness of such an expense. For example, if the mail processing system will not be used exclusively for the purpose of processing mail related to improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Similarly, depending on the volume of mail it may be more reasonable to manually process the mail.

Vehicle Purchases

Purchase of vehicles requires prior approval from the EAC. While motorized vehicles are an allowable cost when they are used for voter education pursuant to Section 101(b)(1)(C) of HAVA, there are significant issues related to allocability and cost reasonableness that must still be considered in assessing the appropriateness of such an expense. For example, if the vehicle will not be used exclusively for the purpose of voter outreach or other activities associated with improving the administration of federal elections and is used for purposes unrelated to improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Even in this instance, the appropriate percentage of cost could only be allocated to the funding programs under Section 101 or Section 251(b). As for the reasonableness analysis, it may be more reasonable to rent a vehicle rather than to purchase, insure, and maintain vehicles that will only be used infrequently or periodically.

Forklifts used exclusively for stacking, moving, and storing voting equipment are an allowable cost for this stated purpose. However, allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered. For example, if the forklift will not be used exclusively for the purpose of moving stored voting equipment and are used for purposes unrelated to improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Similarly, it may be more reasonable to rent a forklift rather than to purchase and maintain forklifts that will only be used infrequently or periodically.

Voting Systems (Special Purpose Equipment)

Office furniture would generally be considered an allowable cost if such cost is not covered by the maintenance of effort requirements imposed by Section 254(a)(7). The purchase of office furniture is only allowable if it can be demonstrated that the furniture would improve the administration of federal elections. As such, those costs could only be allocated to the funding programs under Sections 101 and 251(b). Factors such as allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered. For example, if the office furniture will not be used exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Furthermore, the cost for the furniture must be reasonable as compared to what the election jurisdiction is getting.

The January 1, 2007, date referenced in Section 301(a)(3)(C) applies to when the funds are provided, not when the equipment is purchased. If a jurisdiction already meets the accessibility requirements under Section 301(a)(3) and they wish to purchase additional voting systems, the state would not be required to procure additional voting equipment that is accessible to persons with disabilities. Nevertheless, the equipment procured with those funds must meet all other HAVA Section 301 requirements.
New voting equipment purchased with additional HAVA funding received after January 1, 2007 must meet the requirements of Section 301(a)(3). If mixed funding sources are used in future voting system procurements, states will have to separately account for restricted and unrestricted money separately if the state wishes to purchase non-accessible equipment.

Generally, upgrading wiring is an allowable cost for this purpose. Upgrading wiring is justified if it improves the administration of federal elections. It can be paid for using Section 101 funds or Section 251 funds up to the minimum payment identified in Section 252. However, allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered. If the internet wiring will not be used exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant.

 Yes. Maintenance of a statewide voter registration system can be paid for from Section 251 funds or Section 101 funds. However, cost reasonableness must still be considered. The state should carefully consider the prudence of funding an ongoing expense with a one-time funding source like these HAVA funds. These costs will inevitably be assumed by the state or local government upon the exhaustion of federal funds.

The EAC has concluded that (for the purposes of requirements payments) any pre-award cost “incurred pursuant to negotiation and in anticipation of grant award”, as required by 17 OMB Circular A-87, Pre Award Costs, is reimbursable if the cost was included in a (later) approved HAVA State plan and it was incurred after Congress appropriated HAVA requirements payment funding on February 20, 2003. In order to be properly attributed as a pre-award grant cost, a cost must have been necessary to incur in order to meet the scheduled requirements of the grant. HAVA Title III requirements include a mandate for the creation of a Statewide Voter Registration Database (42 U.S.C. §15483(a)) on or before January 1, 2004 (42 U.S.C. §15483(d)) or apply for a waiver (for good cause shown) to extend the deadline to January 1, 2006. The EAC has concluded that it is reasonable for a State to conclude that pre-award expenditures on Statewide Voter Registration Databases were necessary in order to meet HAVA timelines. Pre-award costs expended to procure a voter registration database that will meet HAVA requirements fits the use limitation. The cost must not have been allocated to meet the States maintenance of effort requirement or 5 percent matching fund requirement. In order to properly allocate a pre-award cost to a grant, the recipient must get written approval from the awarding agency, the EAC. 

Voting machine purchases made prior to the passage of HAVA and after January 1, 2001 are reimbursable under Sections 102 and 251. In addition, Section 251(c)(1) of HAVA permits reimbursement of voting machine purchases made after the Federal general election in November 2000. If Section 102 funds are used to reimburse expenses incurred to purchase voting systems those purchases (1) must have been made after January 1, 2001; (2) must have been made to replace punch card or lever voting systems used on or before the deadline for submitting certifications established in Section 102; and (3) must have been used to purchase voting systems that comply with Section 301(a) of HAVA. In addition, the amount of reimbursement per precinct cannot exceed the pro rata amount distributed by GSA. If Section 251 funds are used as reimbursement for HAVA compliant voting machine purchases made on a multi-year contract, then pursuant to Section 253(a)(5) the amount of the State’s matching funds must be increased in an amount equal to the amount of the reimbursement. If Section 251 funds are used as reimbursement for voting machine purchases made on other than a multi-year contract, the provision requiring an increased matching funds does not apply. 

Yes. The funds can only be used to reimburse the purchase of voting systems that meet the requirements of Section 301(a) of HAVA; purchase must have occurred after the November 2000 election; and if the money is used to reimburse a purchase of voting equipment on a multi-year contract, then the State must increase its maintenance of effort expenditure by the amount of the payment and additional matching funds are required under Section 253(b)(5).

Section 251(c) of HAVA contemplates using Title II funds for the purpose of reimbursing States for expenses associated with voting equipment that meets the requirements of HAVA purchased prior to the availability of funds under HAVA. This concept of reimbursement applies to the county or other local government unit that purchases voting equipment in lieu of such purchases on a State level. HAVA funds may reimburse and replace county funds that were obligated after October 29, 2002, (or obligated prior to January 1, 2001 under a multi-year contract) in advance of the receipt of Federal funds. Thus, if the county has already earned those reimbursement payments, it can reappropriate the funds to uses it deems proper, subject to any conditions established by the State in granting funds to counties.

Either Section 101 or Section 251(b) funds can be used for expenses related to maintenance of voting systems. Under Section 251(b), a State is limited to the amount that it would have been entitled to as a minimum payment until the State meets the requirements of Title III.

Generally, a state or county can rent or lease out its voting systems. Common Rule, 41 C.F.R. § 105-71.32 Equipment, prohibits a grantee from using a piece of equipment purchased using grant funds to compete unfairly with the private sector. If a state rents or leases its voting machines out it must do so in a way that does not thwart competition with the private sector. The price paid by the lessee must be a competitive price. Equipment is defined by the common rule as "tangible, non-expendable, personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit. A grantee may use its own definition of equipment provided that such definition would at least include all equipment defined above.” If the voting systems meet the definition of “equipment” either under the Common Rule or state laws, rules or regulations, the restriction must apply. Income from leasing voting equipment to other jurisdictions would be considered program income, see OMB Circular A-102, Common Rule, 41 C.F.R. § 105-71.125 Program Income. The only appropriate treatment of income classified as program income during the grant period is for the county to dedicate the income to uses permitted under HAVA Section 251. Section 251 allows the use of HAVA funds to implement the requirements of Title III; once those requirements are met, to improve the administration of elections for federal office. After the expiration of the grant period, the income generated by the lease of voting systems may be used by the county as it chooses.

No. The voting equipment provisions of HAVA apply only to elections for federal office. However, there may be state laws, rules or regulations that require the use of accessible voting systems in state and/or local elections.

Accessibility/ADA Compliance

Generally, making polling place accessible is an allowable cost. However, this expense is not directly related to meeting any of the Title III requirements. As such, this cost can be allocated only to funding programs under Section 101 or Section 251(b).

No. HAVA provides only for reimbursement of expenses related to voting system purchases. There is no provision for the reimbursement of expenses incurred to improve access to polling places.

Capital Improvements

Generally, making modifications to a warehouse to store voting equipment is an allowable cost. (This expense is not directly related to meeting any of the Title III requirements. Only Section 101 funds or Section 251(b) funds may be used for this expense.) However, allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered. For example, if the warehouse modification will not be used exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Similarly, it may be more reasonable to select a different warehouse rather than retrofit the current structure.

While purchasing buildings and/or equipment is an allowable cost, leasing has certain limitations. Leasing equipment is considered an allowable expense under 2 CFR 200.465, according to the limitations and conditions of paragraphs (b) through (d). Limitations include:

  • “Sale and lease back” arrangements cannot cost the state or local government more than when it owned the property. The costs include expenses such as depreciation or use allowance, maintenance, taxes, and insurance.
  • A “less-than-arms-length” agreement (i.e., a state government established a corporation to own the property then leases it back to the state) cannot cost the state or local government more than if title had vested in the state or local government.
  • Rental costs under leases which are required to be treated as capital leases under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) are allowable only up to the amount that would be allowed had the state or local government purchased the property on the date the lease agreement was executed. Unallowable costs include amounts paid for profit, management fees, and taxes that would not have been incurred had the property been purchased.

Generally, purchasing a building for federal election activity is an allowable cost (e.g. purchasing a warehouse to store voting equipment). (This expense is not directly related to meeting any of the Title III requirements. Thus, only Section 101 or Section 251(b) funds may be used.) Factors such as allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered in determining the appropriateness of the expense. If the warehouse will not be used exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Similarly, it may be more reasonable to rent a warehouse rather than purchase one.

No. Section 102 of HAVA grants payments to States for the purpose of replacing punch card and lever voting systems not for the storage or warehousing of such equipment. 

Generally, renting a warehouse to store voting equipment is considered to be an allowable cost. This expense is not directly related to meeting any of the Title III requirements. Thus, only Section 101 or Section 251(b) funds may be used. Factors such as allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered in order to determine the appropriateness of this type of expense. If the warehouse will not be used exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of Federal elections (e.g., rental space would be used to house equipment other than voting systems that would be used in Federal elections), only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of Federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Rental costs of buildings and equipment are covered by OMB Circular A-87.

Rental costs under leases which are required to be treated as capital leases under Generally Accepted 13 Accounting Principles (GAAP) are allowable only up to the amount that would be allowed had the State or local government purchased the property on the date the lease agreement was executed. The provisions of Financial Accounting Standards Board Statement 13, Accounting for Leases, determine whether a lease is a capital lease. The determination is based on factors such as if the lease transfers ownership of the property to the lessee by the end of the lease term; contains a bargain purchase option; the lease term is equal to 75 percent or more of the estimated economic life of the leased property unless the lease term falls within the last 25 percent of the total estimated economic life of the leased property; or the present value at the beginning of the lease term of the minimum lease payments excluding executory costs such as insurance, maintenance, and taxes to be paid by the lessor, including any profit, equals or exceeds 90 percent of the excess of the fair value of the leased property to the lessor at the inception of the lease.

Conference Attendance

Generally, HAVA funds may be used to attend an election industry association conference to see available voting equipment if such funds were not a part of the state’s maintenance of effort requirement. HAVA funds may not be used to pay dues to the association.

Voter Education & Voting Officials Training

No. Pursuant to the language of HAVA, the funds must be expended to educate “voters” or groups of people who meet State voting requirements. As coloring books are traditionally geared towards the young (who are not eligible to vote), this use of Section 101 funds appears not to meet the fund’s educational use requirements

Yes. Section 101 funds may be used to train election officials, poll workers, and election volunteers. Section 251 can only be used for the educational costs that benefit federal elections, as those funds are restricted to improving the administration of federal elections funds subject to the requirements of Section 251(b). The State should carefully consider the prudence of funding an ongoing expense, such as training, with a one-time funding source like HAVA funds. These costs will inevitably be assumed by the state or local government upon the exhaustion of federal funds.

No. To fit within the allowable expense of voter education, the item procured must provide information on voting procedures, rights, or technology. Items intended to “get out the vote” or merely encourage voting do not meet this requirement. Items that are not fundamentally educational may be considered advertising or public relations costs prohibited by OMB Circular A-87 and 2 CFR 200.421.

Food Purchases

Generally, HAVA funds may be used to purchase food consumed during training. The provision of food is covered by OMB Circular A-87 and 2 CFR 200.432. Meals associated with meetings and conferences are allowable. However, meals that are used for entertainment purposes and alcohol are not allowable.

No. In order to fit within the allowable expense of voter education, the item procured must provide information on voting procedures, rights or technology. Items intended to “get out the vote” or merely encourage voting do not meet this requirement. Items that are not fundamentally educational may be considered advertising or public relations costs prohibited by OMB Circular A-87, Advertising and public relations costs. 

Legal Advice

According to Sections 101(b)(2) and 251(f) of HAVA, funds cannot be used to pay for costs associated with litigation except to the extent that legal expenses constitute uses/activities that are permitted under these sections for the implementation of HAVA.

Yes. However, grantees generally seek advice from the agency that administers the grant on what constitutes an allowable cost. A state may be able to obtain the information that it needs without the necessity of a legal opinion by consulting with other state departments that are administering federal grant programs at the state level. Grantees are encouraged to request the assistance of the EAC in determining the permissibility of certain costs rather than expending HAVA funds to make this determination. OMB Circular A-87, Defense and prosecution of criminal and civil proceedings, and claims, allows for legal expenses required in the administration of a federal program.

Affirmative Action Compliance

No. The provisions of Executive Order 11246 apply to contractors and subcontractors with the Federal government. The funds provided by EAC under HAVA do not meet the definition of a contract as stated in the Federal Acquisition Regulations, Part 2.101, and as defined by the Government Accountability Office in Principles of Federal Appropriations Law.

Accounting (Recordkeeping & Reporting)

The funds should be included in the audit of the fiscal year in which the funds were expended, which is the fiscal year in which the funds were received from the Federal government and then appropriated to use by the State or county. So, if the funds were received in FY05 (October 1, 2004 – September 30, 2005) and appropriated in FY05 by the 19 State or county as reimbursement for expenses made in a previous fiscal year by the State or county, then the funds should be covered by the FY05 audit.

The grant project period begins when EAC awards appropriated funds to the states and ends when the state expends all federal and required state match funds, interest earned on the federal and state funds and any program income earned under the grant. The Notice of Grant Award issued by the EAC will identify the project period for each grant.

 

 

 

Yes. Consistent with Section 251(b) to use remaining Title II, Section 251 funds for the improvement of the administration of elections for federal office, the state must submit a certification that all the Title III requirements have been met (not just the voting system requirements) or certify prior to the time that all Title III requirements are met that the state will not use more than the minimum payment amount. States are still required to spend the funds in keeping with the State Plan. If the proposed spending on improving election administration is not reflected in the state plan and represents a material change, the state plan must be amended before spending funds on an allowable activity not identified in the plan.

Enforcement

The Department of Justice has enforcement authority over Title III of HAVA. Any claim, lawsuit, or request for remedies including penalties would be sought against the state for its failure or one of its county’s failure to comply with HAVA, would be brought by the Department of Justice.

The EAC expects the State to repay a pro rata portion of the funds received by the State in compliance with the requirement of Section 102(d). That pro rata portion would be determined by multiplying the percentage of noncompliant precincts with the amount of funding originally received under Section 102.

Miscellaneous

The State must follow its own laws and procedures regarding the distribution of grant funds when issuing a sub-grant, but must also assure that the sub-grantee is aware of the limitations imposed by the Federal grant. A State must follow its own law as to whether a cost sharing agreement is required or some other form of grant agreement is needed. EAC suggests that there be some documentation that supports the transfer of these funds to the local governments, whether it be a certification by the governments that they will comply with the limitations or that the governments receive funds on a cost reimbursement basis after providing a request for the funds and proof that they were spent in accordance with the State and Federal restrictions. OMB Circular A-102, Common Rule, 41 C.F.R. § 105-71.137, Sub-grants, covers the requirements for States that issue sub-grants of Federal funds. 

While HAVA does not define an election for federal office, the statements of law regarding other election processes are instructive as to the meaning of the term for purposes of HAVA. The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431 (1) & (3)) includes “primary election held for the selection of delegates to a national nominating convention of a political party” in its definition of the term “election.” However, some states have a definition of federal election that excludes a presidential preference primary.

HAVA does not contain a definition of the term "election for federal office." The EAC has adopted the view of the U.S. Department of Justice which is charged with enforcing the requirements of HAVA Title III. The Justice Department determined that requirements were intended to apply in any general, special, primary, or runoff election for the office of the President or Vice President, including presidential preference primaries, and any general, special, or runoff election for the office of Senator, Representative in, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to the Congress from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five territories.

No, Section 251 restrictions will not be lifted on a county-by-county basis. The plain language of Section 251(b)(2) of HAVA requires that the state have implemented the requirements of Title III prior to using more than what the state could have obtained as a minimum payment for activities to improve the administration of elections for federal office. Until Title III requirements are met across the state, the restrictions apply.

No. Section 301(d) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) requires all States to comply on and after January 1, 2006 with the requirement that each voting system used in elections for Federal office must meet the HAVA Title III, Section 301, voting system standards. The EAC has no authority to extend or waive this statutory deadline. The U.S. Department of Justice, the agency authorized by HAVA to enforce Title III provisions, has made it clear that the agency plans to enforce this deadline. Only the enactment of Federal legislation providing for the extension or waiver of this deadline can change this requirement.

HAVA Section 102(a)(3)(B) permitted States, which had received Title I, Section 102 funds to replace punch card and lever machine voting systems, to file for a waiver of the original November 2, 2004 replacement deadline. Twenty-three of the thirty States that received such funds requested the waiver. The waiver gives these States until the first election for 24 Federal office held on or after January 1, 2006 to replace such systems without risk of losing these Federal funds. The first Federal election would normally be the 2006 primary election for Federal office, unless the State holds an earlier special election for Federal office to fill a vacancy. 

Matching Funds

According to HAVA Section 253(b)(5), the state match is 5 percent of the total amount to be spent (considering the federal amount). Therefore, the federal payment would represent 95 percent of the total federal and state funds. The calculation of the state contribution is: 

  1. Divide the federal award amount by .95 to determine the total program amount
  2. Multiply the total program amount by .05 to determine the amount of the state match. 

Example: A state's requirement payment is $11,000,000

  • $11,000,000 divided by .95 = $11,578,947 
  • The state's share is $11,578,947 x 0.5 = $578,947 

No, a state may not use state matching funds to satisfy the requirement that it maintain its effort. Maintenance of effort (MOE) requirements are separate from matching fund requirements. The intent of the MOE requirement is to assure that federal funding increases the amount of funding to a particular program or task and federal funds do not supplant state funds.

Accessibility

2010 Accessible Voting Technology Initiative

The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) does not preclude any particular type of organization from applying as an intermediary. However, the organization should meet the requirements listed in Section III. A. Eligible Applicants of the funding announcement. 

Yes. However, organizations applying as the intermediary should demonstrate a track record of successfully managing federal funds on projects of this scope and size. Organizations with specific expertise and research experience may be better suited as sub-recipients on the project. 

Yes. Submitting an application with pre-selected sub-recipients is encouraged. Priority consideration is given to proposals that can allocate 40% of the designated funds to the sub-recipients within the first six months of the grant. 

EAC is interested in a fair, open and transparent sub-awarding process. We encourage a process that values and documents appropriately the competitive 2 strengths of potential sub-recipients. We also appreciate the specialized expertise that particular organizations can provide. When submitting your application, please briefly describe the method and rationale (if applicable) for selecting the sub-recipients. 

EAC is maintaining a set of “Bidders Lists” for the benefit of prospective applicants. If your organization is interested in being either a sub-recipient or an intermediary, please send an email to Jess Myers at jmyers@eac.gov with the name of your organization, contact, and any other relevant information. These lists will be posted on the EAC website. Please note that EAC does not endorse any of the organizations on the lists and that participation on the lists does not affect the grant review or selection process. 

The Accessible Voting Technology and the Military Heroes Initiatives are both funded from the $8 million congressional appropriation to develop an accessible voting research technology program. Since the two initiatives share similar goals, EAC would expect the recipients to collaborate in meeting their respective research objectives. EAC would expect the recipients 1) to coordinate project plans to resolve any potential overlaps, 2) to leverage each other’s backgrounds, skills and resources so that the projects can progress efficiently and to the maximum fiscal benefit to the federal government, and 3) to communicate any findings that may be relevant to the other party. 

The NOFA Section VI. B. 3. provides the EAC with a royalty-free, nonexclusive, and irrevocable right to use publications and materials, including data, produced under this agreement. The grantee must also make these publications and materials available to the public upon request. Other grantee intellectual property rights are covered by 35 U.S.C. Sec. 200 et seq. These provisions and implementing regulations allow grantees to retain title over and profit from any intellectual property developed under this grant. In order to retain title the grantee must meet certain reporting and other requirements within specific time periods. Generally, Federal agencies are granted a non-exclusive, nontransferable, irrevocable, paid-up license to utilize on behalf of the United States, the intellectual property developed under the grant throughout the world. 

FOIA

FOIA

A great deal of information is available to the public without filing a FOIA request. Examples are EAC policies, procedures, and advisory opinions as well as reports issued by the EAC and the Office of Inspector General.  Many items are available electronically on the EAC’s web site.  If you are not sure where to begin your search, contact the EAC’s FOIA liaison:

EAC Chief FOIA Officer, 1335 East West Highway, Suite 4300 Silver Spring MD 20910, 301-563-3957

Yes. Although a request for this type of information is not a FOIA request, the EAC will send you the requested information and charge you for the copies, according to the fee schedule in 11 CFR 9405.9 – 9405.12.

No.  A request for documents under the FOIA must be in writing.  You may submit a request through the postal mail, by email, by fax or via electronic mail.  Additionally, if you modify your request, you must verify the change in writing to the appropriate FOIA office processing the request.  Otherwise, processing will not begin.

In order for a record to be considered subject to your FOIA request, it must be in the EAC’s possession and control at the time the EAC begins its search for responsive records. There is no obligation for the EAC to create or compile a record to satisfy a FOIA request (for example, by combining or compiling selected items from manual files, preparing a new computer program, calculating proportions, percentages, frequency distributions, trends and comparisons, or creating maps)

  1. A description of the records

  2. Where you believe the records are located (if possible)

  3. A statement of your willingness to pay fees or a complete fee waiver justification

  4. Your fee category, i.e., commercial use; scientific/educational; news media or other

  5. Your postal address (this IS REQUIRED in order to mail documents to you)

If you are filing a Privacy Act request, include a written authorization signed by: 

  1. You (if this is a first party request)

  2. The individual to whom the records are about (if you are requesting the records on behalf of someone)

  3. Legal representation of the individual to whom the records are about

You should also provide any additional information required in the Privacy Act System of Records Notice.

Generally, you may choose the form or format of disclosure for records.  The EAC must provide the record(s) in the requested form/format if the office responding to the request can readily reproduce the record in that form/format with reasonable efforts. Applicable FOIA fees will apply regardless of the format.

Submit your request in writing through postal mail, email, or fax to:

Cliff Tatum
General Counsel
1335 East West Highway, Suite 4300
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Phone: 301-563-3957
Fax: 301-734-3108

E-mail through the Contact Us form 

When your request is received by the appropriate office, it will be given a processing number.  At that time, the FOIA officer will determine whether your request is "perfected," meaning that the request addresses and complies with the EAC’s requirements under the FOIA. The EAC will send an acknowledgement providing you with the processing or reference number. 

Ordinarily, the EAC has 20 workdays from the date of receipt to respond to your request.  If you have not received a response within 20 workdays or 30 workdays if an extension has been taken (be sure to allow for mailing time), you may contact the EAC FOIA Office to ask about the delay.  You should contact the person listed in the acknowledgement letter as the point of contact for your request to check the status. 

Please note these time limits do not apply to requests for expedited processing. 

The 20 workday time limit begins to run when a request complying with the procedures in 11 CFR §§ 9405.7, is received by the FOIA contact at the office that has the records you are seeking and all issues regarding fees and the scope of your request are resolved.

The FOIA office may extend the 20-working day time limit for 10 more working days when it needs to:

  1. Search for and collect the requested records from multiple offices;

  2. Search for, collect, and examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records sought in a single request; or

  3. Consult with another agency that has a substantial interest in the determination of the request.

If the FOIA office intends to take an extension under this subsection, it will notify you in writing and provide the reason for the extension and the date it expects to make a determination on your request.

If an extension is necessary and the office is unable to respond to your request within 30 workdays, it will notify you in writing when you may expect a final response and advise you of your appeal rights. If an extension is taken and you have not received a response in 30 workdays, you may consider the request denied and file an appeal or a lawsuit.

  1. To receive expedited processing of your request, you must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the FOIA office that your request meets one of the following criteria:

    1. Circumstances in which the lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual;
    2. An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal Government activity if the request is made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information.  In most situations, a person primarily engaged in disseminating information is a representative of the news media. The requested information must be the type of information which has particular value that will be lost if not disseminated quickly and ordinarily refers to a breaking news story of general public interest. However, neither information of historical interest only or sought for litigation or commercial activities nor a news media deadline unrelated to breaking news qualify for expedited processing; or
    3. The loss of substantial due process rights.
  2. A request for expedited processing should be submitted with your FOIA request. For a prompt determination, you must submit a request complying with the requirements of 11 CFR § 9405.7 to the Chief FOIA Officer.

  3. If you are seeking expedited processing, you must submit a statement explaining in detail the basis for your request. You must certify in your letter that your need for expedited processing is true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief.

  4. Within 10 calendar days of receipt of your request, the FOIA office will notify you whether it will grant expedited processing. If expedited processing is granted, the office will give priority to that FOIA request and process the request as soon as practicable. If expedited processing is denied, the FOIA office will notify you of your right to appeal the decision on expedited processing. Appeals of denials of requests for expedited processing will be processed ahead of other appeals (see 43 CFR Part 2, § 2.32(b)). If the FOIA office has not responded to your request for expedited processing within 10 calendar days, you have a right to file an appeal for non-response.

The FOIA office will charge fees consistent with the provisions in 11 CFR §§ 9405.9 – 9405.12.

HAVA Discretionary Grants

Military Heroes Initiatives

The amount awarded for the research portion of the project is capped at 15% for the intermediary. This project was originally envisioned with an intermediary that would coordinate and provide leadership, expertise and experience to a number of sub-recipients that would perform the bulk of the research. The intermediary can perform a larger portion of the research; however, any portion of the work in excess of the 15% cap should be considered as an in-kind matching contribution. 

A for-profit organization can apply as a sub-recipient of funds in
partnership with a non-profit organization or institution of higher
education. The legal applicant on the proposal must be either the nonprofit
organization or institution of higher education.

While this initiative will have larger applicability for people with
disabilities, the specific research under this Notice has to fall within the
scope of the military and address the needs of those involved in the
military establishment. However, proposed activities do not have to be
carried out exclusively within military organizations

The primary target population is injured service personnel that are still on
active duty, however, applicants will want to consider the bulk of research
in areas that have extensive military voting.

While the Notice requests a two-year research plan, applicants are not
discouraged from including proposed strategies for up to a three-year
period. The intent of the two-year research plan is to gather data and
provide recommendations on the voting process and technology for
injured military personnel so that solutions may be implemented in time
for the 2012 elections, however, aspects of the research may need to take
place after the 2012 elections. Applicants should not assume that
additional funds, beyond the initial award of $500,000 will be
forthcoming.

Applicants must meet all three criteria listed in Section III. A., however,
the inclusion of these three components may be achieved through
partnerships with other entities.

We are not expecting to find one proposal that meets every criterion listed
in the Notice. We will be looking to see which proposal will have the
largest or most significant impact written in the parameters we’ve
provided. Please read the selection criteria closely. You will see which
components are important to us by how they are weighted.

No, you do not need to include every single component. While we would
like to see recommendations, plans and implementation assistance to bring
UOCAVA voter assistance websites of FVAP, Uniformed Services and
Department of State into compliance with Section 508, this is not a
requirement. If it does not fit into your research agenda or you do not
have the expertise in that area, then it does not have to be included.

In your budget, you should include a separate line item for each
organization’s activity and budgeted amount. Describe in your budget
narrative how each cost is broken down.

If you do not have a negotiated indirect cost rate with us, you do not need
to charge anything to the indirect rate. Universities will have negotiated
indirect cost rates with the federal government which. We will pay up to
5% of the total grant amount in indirect costs and the rest can go toward a
matching contribution. Up to 5% of the indirect cost can be shared with
any sub-recipients.

Yes, the issue of privacy, security and independence of voting should not
be dismissed.

No, organizations that participate in this initiative are not excluded from
participating in additional competitions if they are selected for this grant.

EAC will work with the successful applicant, the Wounded Warrior Care
and Transition Center and the Federal Voting Assistance Program to help
secure access to the needed data on injured military personnel as well as
assess the facilities to conduct the research.

In general, your organization may retain patent and data rights work
produced with federal grant funds for future sale/profit after the period of
the grant. However, the government will retain unlimited, royalty free
rights to the work. The guidance in this area can be found in the FAR.
Review 52.227-1 Authorization and Consent for details. For-profit
entities receiving federal grants funds must follow:
Cost-principles: 48 CFR 31
Administrative requirements: FAR
Audit Requirements: FAR

If you are an applicant interested in hearing from potential partners or
would like to offer your expertise to potential applicants, please send us
your name and contact information to Allison Hood at ahood@eac.gov
We will make this list available on our website at www.eac.gov.

Logic and Accuracy Testing & Post Election

Non-profit, educational and for-profits institutions can apply in partnership with a
state or local government; however, a state or local unit of government must be the
primary applicant on the proposal.

No. The maximum funding limits for a proposal is determined by the primary
applicant. For instance, a state applicant working with a local government can apply
for a maximum of $230K.

Yes. An organization can be a sub-recipient on more than one application; however,
there can only be one submission by each governmental unit. If a sub-recipient
receives funding from multiple EAC awards, the project scope and budget may be
reviewed for overlap prior to award.

Applicants should follow their own laws, policies and procedures when determining
whether the agreements should follow RFP procedures. Many organizations make a
distinction between contracts (procurement) and sub-recipient agreements.
Generally, the procurement mechanism is applicable for fixed-price items where the
end products are clearly defined in advance; whereas, sub-recipient agreements
provide unique services on a cost-reimbursable basis. Sub-recipient organizations are
usually involved in the design and development in the proposal and perform a
substantial part of the activities. Applicants can investigate whether their
organization has any mechanisms for entering into non-procurement partnerships.

No. In order to allow applicants flexibility in designing their proposals, EAC does not specify the exact format for submitting blended applications. For instance, applicants can submit two separate budget pages – one for L&A and a second for Post-election Audits, or they can submit one combined budget for both portions. Applicants can also choose to organize the narrative portion to reflect separate portions of the project, or combined as one. However, the limits of 3,000 characters for the project abstract and 25,000 characters for the program design, organizational capacity, and budget/cost effectiveness portions of the application still apply. An 18 page limit, including images, applies to applications (please see question #9 below). The maximum funding limits listed on page 11 of the funding announcement also apply to blended applications; and the application should be organized in the order listed on page 15 of the announcement.

No. Applicants should describe any background information completely in the
narrative portion of the application. No appendix material will be accepted at this
time with the application. Should there be any questions regarding the application, EAC will request additional information from the applicant.

Yes. For this program, organizations can recoup a maximum of five percent of total direct costs as indirect costs. If an organization has a negotiated indirect cost rate higher than five percent, the portion in excess of the five percent can be considered a matching contribution in the budget.

Successful grant applicants may request approval for costs incurred before the start of the budget period, provided that the costs are necessary to the conduct of the project and would be allowable under the grant terms. Pre-award costs are always at an applicant’s own risk.

Images can be included in the application; however the following limitations apply. For the Executive Summary, the addition of one image is acceptable provided that the purpose is merely to clarify and not to circumvent the 3,000 character limit. For the Project Narrative Statement of the application, the character limit of 25,000 characters applies to text only applications. For applications that include images, the application is limited to 18 pages.

Applicants should submit budget and project plans for up to 24 months of support. In instances when there may be delays on the project, the grant recipients may request a no-cost extension of up to 12 months to complete the proposed work for a total of 36 months. However, applicants should aim for projects that can be completed in the 24 month timeframe.

While we would appreciate notification of your organization’s intent to apply, it is not required. We welcome all eligible submissions.

If you have any questions regarding this announcement or the application process, please contact Debbie Chen 202-566-2166 dchen@eac.gov, or Joshua Franklin 202-566-0358 jfranklin@eac.gov.

2010 College Poll Worker Program

The maximum length for the Executive Summary is 1,800 characters (not 1,500).
The maximum combined length of the Program Design, Organization Capacity
and Budget/Cost Effectiveness is 17,000 characters (not 15,000). The character
count does not include spaces.

State, county, and local governments are not eligible to apply as the official legal
applicant. The 2010 HAVA College Poll Worker Program is only open to
Public and Private Institutions of higher education and non-profits organizations.
However, the success of any program will depend on partnerships with state and
local election offices; so if these offices are interested, they could reach out to
education and non-profit partners to get involved in a program or to encourage
them to apply.

We do not distinguish between different types of students (undergraduate,
graduate, part-time, etc.) as long as they are enrolled at a college or university.

Voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities are not allowable expenditures
under this program. If EAC grant funds are not used to fund this activity and the
activity is clearly distinguishable from the activities supported by the grant, then
the activity could take place. Applicants are strongly cautioned not to attempt to
use EAC funds in programs that are primarily or traditionally geared towards
voter registration activities.

Yes, requirements for poll workers to be affiliated with a political party are
excluded from this prohibition. Get-out-the-vote or voter registration drives or
other party related activities are not supportable under this grant.

EAC will allow applicants to request pre-award expenses once applicants
have been notified that they are approved for an award.

New applicants are not required to have a program that accomplishes these goals; however, EAC is interested in funding programs that propose development of curriculum, training guides, and best practices associated with recruiting poll workers with disabilities and making polling places more welcoming and accessible to those with disabilities. Note, however, that there is no requirement that applicants must recruit poll workers with disabilities.

Yes, an application may be developed jointly by more than one agency or
organization, although the application must identify one organization as the legal
applicant. The other participating organizations can be included as coparticipants, sub-grantees, or subcontractors.

Yes. Only 2009 College Poll Worker Program grantees are restricted to applying
as re-competing grantees and must use funds to support development of training
material as discussed in the funding notice (Section I.B.).

Some examples of allowable costs are:


i. Salaries for Project Coordinators and assistants
ii. Recruitment materials such as flyers, brochures, and t-shirts
iii. Websites and social network strategies for marketing
iv. Training materials
v. Community Volunteer recruitment and training
vi. Travel expenses for students serving as poll workers on Election Day
vii. Surveys and analysis of participation rates, reactions, and recommendations

Generally, yes, students can receive a stipend for attending training or
participating in the program. We would allow stipends or recognition for
participation or enticements for serving as poll workers. We will not pay for cash prizes or awards for competitions. A grantee would not be prohibited from using in-kind or non-federal funds to provide prizes. One thing to note: when the students serve as poll workers, most jurisdictions will give them a stipend. The program does not allow students to receive stipends when they are already being paid by the jurisdiction where they will be serving as a poll worker. In other words, no double payment for serving as poll workers should be made to students.

Funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages, debt, contingencies, contributions
to other entities, entertainment (including costs of amusement, diversion, social
activities, ceremonials, and costs relating thereto, such as meals, lodging, rentals, transportation, gratuities, and prizes), goods or services for personal use, organization costs (such as incorporation fees, brokers’ fees, fees to promoters, management consultants, attorneys, accountants, or investment counselors), religious activities, lobbying, voter registration, and get-out-the-vote
expenditures.

Grantees may recover indirect costs under this grant up to 5 percent of the total
federal share of the grant. If an applicant has an approved federal indirect cost
rate the remainder of the indirect costs can be used as a matching contribution.
Applicants without an approved indirect rate may not claim indirect costs as a
matching contribution.

Information about past programs and past grantees can be found on the EAC
website here: /payments_and_grants/help_america_vote_college_program.

There is no budget justification form. Rather, you should be sure to complete a
written narrative justification for section B.6 of the SF 424A. The categories on
the SF-424A form alone may not suffice for explaining how the expenses are
broken down within these categories so you should be sure to include a detailed
justification for the categories. This section does NOT count towards the
character count for the narrative portion of your application

You may use a different version of the SF 424 if it has exactly the same fields as
required in the form provided by EAC. You will not be penalized for handwriting
either the SF 424 or 424A.

No, the electronic version of the document must be an exact duplicate of the
application, but it does not need original signatures.

As long as the eligible applicant is a 501(c)(3) organization, having a 501(c)(4)
affiliate will not effect your eligibility.

No. If you submit your application via email, you do not need to submit one via
regular mail. Please be sure to include the entire application with one or more
attachments in one e-mail. Application missing required elements may not be
reviewed by EAC.

2009 College Poll Worker Program

It is a total of $75,000 for up to the entire two-year grant period. Additional
funding to expand proposed 2010 activities in the second year of the grant may be awarded subject to availability of funds and demonstrated progress toward
approved performance measures. Note: your proposed budget can cover up to 24 months, but can also be less. An applicant could propose a one-year program
beginning in December 2009 through December 2010, for example.

New applicants are not required to have a program that accomplishes these goals; however, EAC is interested in funding programs that propose development of curriculum, training guides, and best practices associated with recruiting poll workers with disabilities and making polling places more welcoming and accessible to those with disabilities. Note, however, that there is no requirement that applicants must recruit poll workers with disabilities. 2008 grantees recompeting for this year MUST propose a program that addresses these program areas/issues.

Applicants may propose planning and/or scaled down activities in the 2009
election cycle in preparation for larger initiatives for the 2010 election cycle. EAC
understands that not all jurisdictions have elections in 2009. Some applicants may wish to conduct two elections in 2010 or they may wish to devote resources to developing a larger initiative only for the November general election. EAC will
not limit the possibilities. Applicants should propose a program that both meets
the goals and objectives of the College Poll Worker Program and is reasonable
given your regional and local circumstances.

Yes, an application may be developed jointly by more than one agency or
organization, although the application must identify one organization as the legal
applicant. The other participating organizations can be included as coparticipants, sub-grantees, or subcontractors.

Yes. Only 2008 College Poll Worker Program grantees are restricted to applying
as re-competing grantees and must use funds to support new partnerships with
university offices of disability and other disability support groups to develop
innovative programs to recruit poll workers with disabilities and/or develop new
training material that helps all poll workers create more receptive polling place
environments on Election Day.

Some examples of allowable costs are:


i. Salaries for Project Coordinators and assistants
ii. Recruitment materials such as flyers, brochures, and t-shirts
iii. Websites and social network strategies for marketing
iv. Training materials
v. Community Volunteer recruitment and training
vi. Travel expenses for students serving as poll workers on Election Day
vii. Surveys and analysis of participation rates, reactions, and
recommendations

Generally, yes, students can receive a stipend for attending training or
participating in the program. We would allow stipends or recognition for
participation or enticements for serving as poll workers. We will not pay for cash prizes or awards for competitions. A grantee would not be prohibited from using in-kind or non-federal funds to provide prizes. One thing to note: when the students serve as poll workers, most jurisdictions will give them a stipend. The program does not allow students to receive stipends when they are already being paid by the jurisdiction where they will be serving as a poll worker. In other words, no double payment for serving as poll workers should be made to students.

Funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages, debt, contingencies, contributions
to other entities, entertainment (including costs of amusement, diversion, social
activities, ceremonials, and costs relating thereto, such as meals, lodging, rentals, transportation, gratuities, and prizes), goods or services for personal use, organization costs (such as incorporation fees, brokers’ fees, fees to promoters, management consultants, attorneys, accountants, or investment counselors), religious activities, lobbying, voter registration, and get-out-the-vote
expenditures.

Grantees may recover indirect costs under this grant up to 5 percent of the total
federal share of the grant. If an applicant has an approved federal indirect cost rate the remainder of the indirect costs can be used as a matching contribution.
Applicants without an approved indirect rate may not claim indirect costs as a
matching contribution.

Information about past programs and past grantees can be found on the EAC
website here:
/payments_and_grants/help_america_vote_college_program

No, the revision date does not matter. Links to the specific forms can be found
below. Please note that some of these forms are very large and may take some
time to download.
i. Standard Form 424 (SF-424) Core Form
1. Budget Information--Non-Construction Programs (SF 424A)
2. Assurances--Non-Construction Programs (SF 424B)
ii. Certifications:
/payments_and_grants/federal_standard_forms

There is no budget justification form. Rather, you should be sure to complete a
written narrative justification for section B.6 of the SF 424A. (Yes, it is a typo on
our announcement that indicates Section B.7). The categories on the SF-424A
form alone may not suffice for explaining how the expenses are broken down
within these categories so you should be sure to include a detailed justification for the categories. This section does NOT count towards the character count for the narrative portion of your application

You may use a different version of the SF 424 if it has exactly the same fields as
required in the form provided by EAC. You will not be penalized for handwriting
either the SF 424 or 424A.

No, the electronic version of the document must be an exact duplicate of the
application, but it does not need official signatures.

2010 Mock Election Program

Secondary education is grades 9-12. EAC will not prohibit programs from
targeting younger students in conjunction with a program for high school
students, but federal funds cannot be used to fund the portion of the program
targeting those younger students.

The EAC will not give priority consideration to either new or prior
applicants. EAC will award grants to those applicants who propose a
program that is most likely to meet the goals and objectives of the Mock
Election Program.
Applications will be reviewed according to the criteria established in the
Notice:
i. Program Design (50%)
ii. Organizational Capacity (35%)
iii. Budget/Cost Effectiveness (15%)

The program does not require the mock election to be held five days before
the actual election; rather, the program prohibits the mock election to be held
within five or less days of the election.
The intent is that programs will work with election administrators to ensure
that the voting systems utilized during the mock election are similar to the
voting systems used by voters in the project’s covered area, but this is not a
requirement.
The overall goal of the program is to operate a program of simulated elections
for students in secondary education programs to allow students to become
more familiar with voting processes and technologies so that when they
become eligible to vote they will be more comfortable with their civic duties.
Election equipment is one part of the voting system. The voting system does
not solely refer to the equipment used, but also (though not limited to) ballot
styles, registration procedures, absentee and/or early voting procedures.

No, the selection criteria are not weighted against jurisdictions that have all
mail-in elections. Under Program Design in the selection criteria, 20 percent
of the available points are devoted to “the extent to which the proposed
program will work with election administrators to ensure that the voting
systems used during the mock election are similar to the voting systems used
by voters
in the project’s covered area…”; so a program that mirrors an allmail
election would not be disadvantaged.

Applicants must propose initiatives for the 2010 election cycle.

Yes, an application may be developed jointly by more than one agency or
organization, although the application must identify one organization as the
legal applicant. The other participating organizations can be included as coparticipants, sub-grantees, or subcontractors.

No, grantees can determine who they would like to hire, either inside or
outside the agency. School teachers receiving a stipend in return for
coordinating activities would be one possibility. Grantees may also choose
to hire program coordinators on contractual basis.

Some examples of allowable costs are:
i. Salaries for coordinators
ii. Printing and development costs for materials and ballots
iii. Programming for equipment or ballots used in the mock election
iv. Travel expenses for coordinators
v. Cost to transport election equipment
vi. Stipends or enticements for different levels of student participation

Funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages, bad debt, contingencies,
contributions to other entities, entertainment (including costs of amusement,
diversion, social activities, ceremonials, and costs relating thereto, such as
meals, lodging, rentals, transportation, gratuities, and prizes), goods or
services for personal use, organization costs (such as incorporation fees,
brokers’ fees, fees to promoters, management consultants, attorneys,
accountants, or investment counselors), religious activities, lobbying, voter
registration, and get-out-the-vote expenditures.

Federal funds cannot be used to conduct actual voter registration. However, it
is not a problem if high school seniors are registered in conjunction with the
mock election program. Costs and activities associated with registering
students for the mock election are allowable.

We would allow stipends or recognition for participation or enticements for
serving as poll workers at the mock election. We will not pay for cash prizes
or awards for competitions. A grantee would not be prohibited from using inkind
or non-federal funds to provide prizes.

Grantees may recover indirect costs under this grant up to 5 percent of the
total federal share of the grant. If an applicant has an approved federal indirect
cost rate, the remainder of the indirect costs can be used as a matching
contribution. Applicants without an approved indirect rate may not claim
indirect costs as a matching contribution.

The budget period begins on or within 10 days of the date of award.
EAC anticipates making awards in early May 2010.

Matching funds or other community resources are not required, but are
encouraged. Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate
community/stakeholder participation in the program and long term
sustainability of the program through use of non-federal cash and in-kind
support for the program.

The reporting requirements, including deadlines, and other data
collection requirements can be found on page 13 of the application.

Information about past programs and past grantees can be found on the EAC
website here:
/payments_and_grants/help_america_vote_act_mock_ele
ction_program

Questions should be directed to Mark Abbott or Allison Hood at (202) 566-
3100 or by sending an email to mockelections@eac.gov. Emails will be
replied to within one business day.

2009 Mock Election Program

Secondary education is grades 9-12. EAC will not prohibit programs from
targeting younger students in conjunction with a program for high school
students, but federal funds cannot be used to fund the portion of the program
targeting those younger students.

The EAC will not give priority consideration to either new or prior applicants.
EAC will award grants to those applicants who propose a program that is most
likely to meet the goals and objectives of the Mock Election Program.
Applications will be reviewed according to the criteria established in the Notice:
i. Program Design (50%)
ii. Organizational Capacity (35%)
iii. Budget/Cost Effectiveness (15%)

The program does not require the mock election to be held five days before the
actual election; rather, the program prohibits the mock election to be held within
five or less days of the election. Further, the intent is that a proposed program will
work with election administrators to ensure that the voting systems utilized during
the mock election are similar to the voting systems used by voters in the project’s
covered area, but this is not a requirement. The overall goal of the program is to
operate a program of simulated elections for students in secondary education
programs to allow students to become more familiar with voting processes and
technologies so that when they become eligible to vote they will be more
comfortable with their civic duties. Election equipment is one part of the voting
system. The voting system does not solely refer to the equipment used, but also
(though not limited to) ballot styles, registration procedures, absentee and/or early
voting procedures.

No, the selection criteria are not weighted against jurisdictions that have all mail-in elections. Under ‘Program Design’ in the selection criteria, 20 percent of the
available points are devoted to “the extent to which the proposed program will work with election administrators to ensure that the voting systems used during the mock election are similar to the voting systems used by voters in the project’s covered area…”, so a program that mirrors an all-mail election would not be
disadvantaged.

Applicants may propose planning and scaled down activities in the 2009 election
cycle in preparation for larger initiatives for the 2010 election cycle. EAC
understands that not all jurisdictions have elections in 2009. Some applicants may wish to conduct two elections in 2010 or they may wish to devote resources to developing a larger initiative for the November general election. EAC will not
limit the possibilities. Applicants should propose a program that meets both the
goals and objectives of the Mock Election Program and is reasonable given your
regional and local circumstances.

Yes, an application may be developed jointly by more than one agency or
organization, although the application must identify one organization as the legal
applicant. The other participating organizations can be included as coparticipants, sub-grantees, or subcontractors.

No, grantees can determine who they would like to hire, either inside or outside
the agency. School teachers receiving a stipend in return for coordinating
activities would be one possibility. Grantees may also choose to hire program
coordinators on contractual basis.

Some examples of allowable costs are:
i. Salaries for coordinators
ii. Printing and development costs for materials
iii. Programming for equipment or ballots used in the mock election
iv. Travel expenses for coordinators
v. Stipends or enticements for different levels of student participation

Funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages, bad debt, contingencies,
contributions to other entities, entertainment (including costs of amusement,
diversion, social activities, ceremonials, and costs relating thereto, such as meals, lodging, rentals, transportation, gratuities, and prizes), goods or services for personal use, organization costs (such as incorporation fees, brokers’ fees, fees to promoters, management consultants, attorneys, accountants, or investment counselors), religious activities, lobbying, voter registration, and get-out-the-vote expenditures.

Federal funds cannot be used to conduct actual voter registration. However, it is
not a problem if high school seniors are registered in conjunction with the mock
election program. Costs associated with registering students for the mock election are allowable expenditures.

We would allow stipends or recognition for participation or enticements for
serving as poll workers at the mock election. We will not pay for cash prizes or
awards for competitions. A grantee would not be prohibited from using in-kind or
non-federal funds to provide prizes.

Grantees may recover indirect costs under this grant up to 5 percent of the total
federal share of the grant. If an applicant has an approved federal indirect cost rate the remainder of the indirect costs can be used as a matching contribution.
Applicants without an approved indirect rate may not claim indirect costs as a
matching contribution.

The budget period begins on or within 10 days of the date of award. EAC
anticipates making awards in early September.

Matching funds or other community resources are not required, but are
encouraged. Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate
community/stakeholder participation in the program and long term sustainability
of the program through use of non-federal cash and in-kind support for the
program.

The reporting requirements, including deadlines, and other data collection
requirements can be found on page 13 of the application.

Information about past programs and past grantees can be found on the EAC
website here:
/payments_and_grants/help_america_vote_act_mock_election_program

Questions should be directed to Mark Abbott or Allison Hood. Mark or Allison
can be reached at (202) 566-3100 or by sending an email to
mockelections@eac.gov. Emails will be replied to within one business day.

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