The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) established a program to provide federal funds to states and territories to upgrade voting systems and improve the administration of federal elections. The law also mandated the creation of the Election Assistance Commission to administer HAVA grant programs.
The EAC provides HAVA formula grants directly to states and U.S. territories to support the administration of elections for federal office and improvements to voting and election systems. States and territories do not compete for the funds which are distributed based on predetermined formulas and eligibility requirements.
States eligible to receive HAVA funds are defined in HAVA Section 901. The Northern Mariana Islands was added through the Appropriations Law of 2020. HAVA Section 252 provides the formula for allocation of funding appropriated to states (42 US.C.§ 15402) which is based on the state's proportionate share of voting age population.
"(b) State Allocation Percentage Defined. —The “State allocation percentage “for a State is the amount (expressed as a percentage) equal to the quotient of—(1) the voting age population of the State (as reported in the most recent decennial census); and (2) the total voting age population of all States (as reported in the most recent decennial census).
(c) Minimum Amount of Payment. —The amount of a requirements payment made to a State for a year may not be less than—(1) in the case of any of the several States or the District of Columbia, one-half of 1 percent of the total amount appropriated for requirements payments for the year under section 257; or (2) in the case of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, or the United States Virgin Islands, one-tenth of 1 percent of such total amount."
To be eligible to receive HAVA formula funds, a state must submit a letter requesting the funds, signed terms and conditions, a program narrative describing how funds will be used, and proposed budget. States must also be in compliance with all HAVA and federal requirements for their open HAVA grants.
The EAC awards discretionary grants to eligible recipients on competitive basis. Eligibility and program requirements are published on grants.gov via a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Applications are screened for completeness and to ensure that applicants meet eligibility requirements. Eligible applications are then reviewed and scored based on the criteria outlined in the NOFO, including program design, organizational capacity, and cost effectiveness.
Help America Vote College Program
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) anticipates the availability of $1 million dollars in discretionary grant funding, enacted in the 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act, to support the Help America Vote College Program (HAVCP) authorized in the Help America Vote Act of 2002.
The HAVCP grant competition includes funding for two separate grant programs: The HAVCP Poll Worker grant and the HAVCP Service Day mini-grant. Applicant organizations may apply for either or both grants but may not submit more than one application for each.
The purpose of the HAVCP Poll Worker grant is to encourage college students to assist state and local governments in the administration of elections by serving as nonpartisan poll workers or assistants, and to encourage jurisdictions to utilize these efforts.
The purpose of the HAVCP Service Day mini-grant is to elevate civic participation on college campuses through a day of service and inspire college students to volunteer their time and talents to ensure safe, secure, accessible, and transparent elections.
The opportunity is expected to open in October 2023. Applications will be accepted in Grants.gov for approximately 30 days. Additional updates and information will be posted here. The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) will be posted to the Federal Register in advance of the opportunity and linked on the EAC website.
The HAVCP grant competition Application Kit is posted for public comment in the Federal Register until September 18, 2023. The draft application documents are included below.