About EAC HAVA Funds

2020 HAVA Security Funds

About EAC

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 Funds

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. 

States are required to match 20 percent of the amount awarded and secure that amount within two years of receiving federal funds. They then have the full five years of the budget period to expend all of their match 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 or the 2018 HAVA grants. American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands are exempt from the match requirement. 

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. 

States must provide an annual standard Federal Financial Report and progress narrative for the period ending September 30, which is due by December 31 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 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. 

Yes, EAC understands that plans can change over a five-year period. Consult the EAC grants office if you need to revise plans and the budget in the future. 

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, due April 27, 2020. In addition, states must follow the Cost Principles 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. 

“Secure” means the state has identified how it will meet the match or has received an appropriation from the state legislature to meet the match.  States have the full five years of the grant to actually spend the identified funds to meet the matching requirement.

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.

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.