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Commissioner Ben Hovland Begins Term as U.S. Election Assistance Commission Chairman

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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Commissioner Ben Hovland began his year-long term as Chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), a position he previously held in 2020. Chairman Hovland will serve alongside Commissioner Donald Palmer, who also begins his year-long term as Vice Chair. They both continue to serve with EAC Commissioners Christy McCormick and Thomas Hicks.

"I am honored to once again step into the role of Chair and continue to work with election officials from across the country to safeguard our democracy. In the upcoming year, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission will be upholding our core mission: empowering state and local election officials with the tools and knowledge essential to maintain the safety, security, accessibility, and integrity of our elections," stated Chairman Hovland. "Ahead of an incredibly busy year for the elections community, I am excited to collaborate with my fellow Commissioners and the EAC staff to bolster confidence in our electoral system and champion the work of dedicated officials across the country."

Chairman Hovland identified the following areas he would like to build on as priorities for the agency in the coming year, including:

  • Increasing EAC’s initiatives regarding the recruitment of poll workers and raising awareness about the critical need for these volunteers during elections.
  • Continuing to support federal, state and local election administrators through the migration to VVSG 2.0 and the testing and certification of new election technologies.
  • Prioritizing the EAC’s clearinghouse function to provide best practices in support of state and local election administrators as they strive to better serve all American voters.

Chairman Hovland assumes the Chair role in place of outgoing Chairwoman Christy McCormick, whose term spanned February 2023 through February 2024.

"Reflecting on the past year, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission has achieved remarkable strides in advancing its mission to enhance the integrity of our elections. Notably, the EAC successfully administered $75 million in federal grants to states and territories to improve the administration of federal elections, including enhancing technology and making election security improvements. The EAC this year also announced 21 grant recipients for the 2023 Help America Vote College Program to support the training and recruitment of college students to serve as nonpartisan poll workers,” said outgoing Chairwoman Christy McCormick. “Thanks to the dedication of state and local election officials, elections in 2023 once again ran smoothly. I look forward to continuing this work to further enhance election administration and fortify our support for those who work tirelessly to manage our elections.”

About Chairman Benjamin Hovland

Benjamin Hovland was confirmed by unanimous consent of the United States Senate on January 2, 2019, to serve on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

In 2020, Commissioner Hovland served as EAC Chairman and helped lead the agency during an election year with unprecedented challenges. Under his leadership, the EAC administered nearly $825 million in federal grant money to help election officials respond to the pandemic and enhance election security. In addition to distributing critical funding, the EAC strategically pivoted resources to help election officials as they confronted obstacles and made difficult decisions of how to best run their elections.

As EAC Chairman in 2020, Mr. Hovland also served as Co-Chair of the Election Infrastructure Subsector’s Government Coordinating Council and Chair of the Joint Subsector COVID-19 Working Group to coordinate pandemic response amongst state and local election officials, federal partners, and the private sector. Other innovations under his leadership included the first-ever National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, which led national recruitment efforts to alleviate concerns about a significant shortage in poll workers due to the pandemic.

During Commissioner Hovland’s previous tenure as Chairman, the EAC also adopted a new version of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). Known as VVSG 2.0, this represents the first major overhaul of the standards in 15 years and a major leap forward for future election systems.

Mr. Hovland’s career in elections spans over 20 years and includes service as Acting Chief Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, where he was a driving force behind Congress appropriating $380 million in Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds to enhance election security to the states in 2018. While at the Senate, he focused on the federal government’s role in election administration and campaign finance regulation. He organized several hearings on election security preparations and improving election administration. He was integral to pushing for the restoration of a quorum at the EAC in 2015.

Earlier in his career, as the Deputy General Counsel for the Missouri Secretary of State’s office, he focused on legal issues related to the administration of state and federal elections, including recounts, poll worker training, voter registration list maintenance, statewide database matching, voter education resources and ballot initiative litigation.


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. The EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as administers the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit