On Friday, March 23, President Donald J. Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (the Act) into law. The Act included $380 million in grants, made available to states to improve the administration of elections for Federal office, including to enhance technology and make election security improvements. The 2018 HAVA Election Security Fund, authorized under Title I Section 101 of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, marks the first new appropriations for HAVA grants since FY2010. This funding will provide states with additional resources to secure and improve election systems. Below is additional information about the grants.

"This FAQ is a living document and updated as new information becomes available. This was last updated on March 30, 2018."

HAVA Funds

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 5 percent of these funds awarded within two years of receiving federal 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 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. 

States must provide an annual standard Federal Financial Report and program narrative for the period ending September 30, which is due by December 30 of the same year.

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.  

The EAC grant funds are disbursed by a voting-age population formula to the States. States have discretion as to if and how they make available funds to local election jurisdictions. Some states have chosen to issue funds by formula, others publish a list of reimbursable items while others allow counties to submit proposals and budgets to cover their needs.