For Immediate Release
Silver Spring, MD - On March 27, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) into law. The Act includes $400 million in new Help America Vote Act (HAVA) emergency funds, made available to states to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus for the 2020 federal election cycle. This supplemental appropriation funding, distributed by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), will provide states with additional resources to protect the 2020 elections from the effects of the novel coronavirus. The EAC Commissioners commended the President and Congressional leaders for recognizing the growing needs of election officials who are working hard to keep voters and election workers safe while keeping the voting process secure, accessible, and accurate during this difficult time.
"State and local jurisdictions across the country are facing unexpected and rapidly increasing costs to mail ballots, move polling sites, and ensure the safety of voters, staff, and election workers,” said EAC Chairman, Ben Hovland. “I am thankful that Congress recognized the need to help support state and local election officials by offsetting some of the increased costs of administering elections during this challenging time.”
Vice Chairman, Don Palmer stated, "The American people can be confident that your state and local election officials will adjust to any contingency and ensure all Americans have the opportunity to vote. The EAC is working expeditiously to distribute this federal money that will help states to protect voters and the integrity of our election process."
The following can be attributed to Chairman Ben Hovland, Vice Chair Don Palmer, Commissioner Tom Hicks, and Commissioner Christy McCormick.
EAC Commissioners and staff are moving as quickly as possible to provide guidance surrounding the Consolidated Appropriations Act and CARES Act, including implementing the match requirement. Along with our partners, the EAC is working diligently to get this money to the states so election administrators across the country can immediately implement contingency efforts in response to coronavirus to protect voters and election staff, and maintain the integrity of our election process. State and local election officials are doing their utmost to make sure the voting process is safe while keeping it secure and accessible.
The Office of Management and Budget and the Treasury Department have been supportive in assisting the EAC with expediting the process to ensure funds are obligated and disbursed as quickly as possible. The EAC is distributing guidance to the states and hosting webinars to answer states’ questions as they prepare for the elections.
The CARES Act is subject to the conditions and restrictions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of 2020. These conditions include the requirement that states allocate a 20% match of funds spent on the emergency grant project, which is to prepare and protect the administration of federal elections during the 2020 election cycle. The EAC is providing state grant recipients with FAQs and webinars to provide guidance in meeting the 20% match and accessing the funds.
CARES Act funds are expected to be awarded to the states by late next week and the EAC will conduct additional information sessions on the use of the funds.
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The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with ensuring secure, accurate and accessible elections by developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as administers the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit www.eac.gov.