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HAVA does not contain a definition of the term "election for federal office." The EAC has adopted the view of the U.S. Department of Justice which is charged with enforcing the requirements of HAVA Title III. The Justice Department determined that requirements were intended to apply in any general, special, primary, or runoff election for the office of the President or Vice President, including presidential preference primaries, and any general, special, or runoff election for the office of Senator, Representative in, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to the Congress from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five territories.

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While HAVA does not define an election for federal office, the statements of law regarding other election processes are instructive as to the meaning of the term for purposes of HAVA. The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431 (1) & (3)) includes “primary election held for the selection of delegates to a national nominating convention of a political party” in its definition of the term “election.” However, some states have a definition of federal election that excludes a presidential preference primary.

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The EAC awards two distinct types of grants: 1) HAVA operational grants to states and territories and 2) discretionary grants. Operational grants include Section 101 grants for the improvement of federal election administration and Title II Section 251 requirements payments grants. The EAC does not currently have funds available for discretionary grants. For more information about current open and active grants, please visit our “Grants Management and Oversight” page.

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Yes, the EAC adopted 2 CFR. by policy as permitted by the Office of Management and Budget. Grantees acknowledge the regulations by reviewing and accepting the terms of the award as specified in the Notice of Grant Award.

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The grant project period begins when EAC awards appropriated funds to the states and ends when the state expends all federal and required state match funds, interest earned on the federal and state funds and any program income earned under the grant. The Notice of Grant Award issued by the EAC will identify the project period for each grant.

 

 

 

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States are required to match the federal funds awarded according to the level of match specified in HAVA or set in the annual appropriations law. HAVA sets a 5% state match to Section 251 funds that must be deposited in an Election Fund described in Section 251 (b). HAVA does not set a required state match for Section 101 funds, but appropriations language may specify a matching requirement, e.g., Election Security grants.

If appropriations language sets a match requirement for Section 101 funds, the language may also specify a deadline for state to identify how they will meet the match or appropriate state funds for the match. The states then have the remaining period of the grant to meet the matching requirements. Under this scenario for Section 101 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, Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are exempt from the match requirement.

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Yes. A quorum is not needed to distribute funds to states.

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State allocations for mandatory grants under HAVA are calculated based on a formula established in the law that includes three steps:

  1. A minimum percentage is allocated to all states and the District of Columbia (½ of 1% of the appropriation) and the five territories (1/10 of 1%).
  2. The remainder is allocated based on the voting age population of each state in relation to the total voting age population of all states as reported in the most recent decennial census.
  3. If all states and territories do not receive the guaranteed minimum payment in HAVA ($1,000,000 for territories and $5,000,000 for the 50 states and the District of Columbia), funds are re-allocated from states above that minimum to states below the minimum to ensure all states and territories receive at least the guaranteed minimum.

The guaranteed minimum payment established in the law can be changed in appropriations language.

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We follow the process set up in the Help America Vote Act in Section 101(d)(2) which is summarized below:   

Step 1. A minimum amount is distributed at first to all the states and territories, 1/2 of one percent to the states and 1/10 of one percent to the territories.​ 

Step 2. The remainder of the amount appropriated is allocated based on the percentage of voting age population in the state. Per HAVA, the population numbers are from the current published decennial census.

Step 3. There is also a minimum amount per state set in HAVA or the current appropriation act.   If there are states and territories that fall below that minimum after the allocation is made based on voting age population, the law calls for a prorated reduction from larger states to bring the smaller ones up to the minimum. 

Note: As of March 1, 2022, the most current decennial census data for the states is the 2020 Census and the most current data for the territories is the 2010 Census.  If grant funding must be distributed before the territory data is published for the 2020 Census, the EAC would make formula awards using hybrid data combining the 2020 and 2010 census.   

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The EAC has concluded that (for the purposes of requirements payments) any pre-award cost “incurred pursuant to negotiation and in anticipation of grant award”, as required by 17 OMB Circular A-87, Pre Award Costs, is reimbursable if the cost was included in a (later) approved HAVA State plan and it was incurred after Congress appropriated HAVA requirements payment funding on February 20, 2003. In order to be properly attributed as a pre-award grant cost, a cost must have been necessary to incur in order to meet the scheduled requirements of the grant. HAVA Title III requirements include a mandate for the creation of a Statewide Voter Registration Database (42 U.S.C. §15483(a)) on or before January 1, 2004 (42 U.S.C. §15483(d)) or apply for a waiver (for good cause shown) to extend the deadline to January 1, 2006. The EAC has concluded that it is reasonable for a State to conclude that pre-award expenditures on Statewide Voter Registration Databases were necessary in order to meet HAVA timelines. Pre-award costs expended to procure a voter registration database that will meet HAVA requirements fits the use limitation. The cost must not have been allocated to meet the States maintenance of effort requirement or 5 percent matching fund requirement. In order to properly allocate a pre-award cost to a grant, the recipient must get written approval from the awarding agency, the EAC. 

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According to HAVA Section 253(b)(5), the state match is 5 percent of the total amount to be spent (considering the federal amount). Therefore, the federal payment would represent 95 percent of the total federal and state funds. The calculation of the state contribution is: 

  1. Divide the federal award amount by .95 to determine the total program amount
  2. Multiply the total program amount by .05 to determine the amount of the state match. 

Example: A state's requirement payment is $11,000,000

  • $11,000,000 divided by .95 = $11,578,947 
  • The state's share is $11,578,947 x 0.5 = $578,947 
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The U.S. Treasury can offset a federal award to collect a debt owed by the state. The debt can be collected from any award regardless of the state agency that owed the debt. There have been a few times that HAVA grants have been offset for debts owed by other agencies. The EAC is not notified if HAVA grants are offset and does not have access to information about the offset. The U.S. Treasury department sends regular reports to the State Comptrollers about offsets.  Those reports identify the agency responsible for the debt, the agency whose federal award was decreased to pay the debt, the amount of the offset, and contact information for the agency responsible for the debt.

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Contact your state comptroller’s office immediately to identify the debtor agency and have the offset amount returned to your HAVA grant. It is important to identify the source of the debt and ensure the state makes a transfer for the full amount authorized by EAC as soon as possible. Any delay in getting the funds returned may cause additional funds to be owed because the full amount EAC disbursed must start earning interest from the date it is deposited in state accounts.  If a lesser amount is deposited due to an offset, the state must make the grant whole for both the offset amount and the interest lost caused by the delay in the deposit of the full disbursed amount. Delays in resolving offsets can result in significant lost interest.

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The SF-425 Federal Financial Report (FFR) should reflect all activities against the Federal award depending if you are reporting on a cash or accrual basis. Whether the grantee advances the payment, or provides it as a cost reimbursement-based award, reporting the subgrant expenses as they are incurred/approved provides an accurate reflection of the rate of spending on the award and abides by (2CRF § 200.502(a)).

Line 10.b (Cash Disbursements) and Line 10.e (Federal share of expenditures) should reflect the sum of all expenses including: direct costs for goods and services and approved reported subaward expenses.

Line 10.f (Federal Share of Unliquidated Obligations) should reflect the amount of outstanding dollars incurred by the grantee. For cash base reporting, 10.f reflects dollars incurred but not yet paid. For accrual base reporting, 10.f reflects dollars incurred but not yet recorded.

Please discuss any potential changes in reporting these expenditures on the FFR with the Grants Office in advance at grants@eac.gov.

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Under HAVA (254(b)(1)(d)) and the Uniform Guidance §200.305(b)(7)(ii) / §200.332(a)(2,3), HAVA grantee requirements are passed through to subgrantees. Where subgrants are disbursed as advanced payments, the subgrantee is required to place their funds in an interest-bearing account and report any interest earned and expended to the grantee. The HAVA grantee must report subgrant interest earned and expended on their FFR as part of the cumulative amounts reported on lines 10p (Total Federal interest earned) and 10q (Federal interest expenditures) on the EAC custom FFR. Subaward interest activities should be detailed in the subgrant narrative section of the progress report.

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States and its counties may use funds distributed under Section 101 or Section 251 to purchase voting equipment used to conduct absentee voting as long as that equipment meets the requirements of Section 301(a) of HAVA. The definition of voting systems in Section 301(b) of HAVA includes equipment used to administer absentee voting. As such, no pre-approval from the EAC is required prior to purchase. However, cost reasonableness must still be considered in selecting the equipment. The cost must be reasonably related to the value of the equipment purchased.

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Yes. States and counties may use funds distributed under Section 101 or Section 251 to purchase additional accessible voting equipment if that equipment meets the requirements of Section 301(a) of HAVA.

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The answer depends on whether the purchase of VVPAT is part of the purchase of a compliant voting system (under Section 301(a)) or if it is purchased as a retrofit for a compliant voting system. If it is a component of a voting system that is being purchased, then Section 251 funds can be used to the same extent that they are available to meet the requirements of Title III. However, if the VVPAT is purchased as a retrofit, then 251 funds can be used ONLY to the extent that they can be used to improve the administration of federal elections (see 251(b)(2)), as VVPAT is not a required component of voting systems under section 301(a) and would serve only to improve the administration of elections.

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Storage cabinets and shelving are allowable costs if they are not covered by the required maintenance of effort. See Section 254(a)(7). Cost principles such as allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered. For example, if the security cages and shelving will not be used exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant.

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High speed letter openers are an allowable cost for this stated purpose. Allocability and cost reasonableness must be considered in assessing the propriety of this type of expense. If the letter opener will not be used exclusively for the purpose of opening absentee ballots, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Similarly, depending on the volume of mail it may be more reasonable to manually open the letters.

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This type of mail processing system is an allowable cost for the stated purpose. However, allocability and cost reasonableness must be considered to fully assess the appropriateness of such an expense. For example, if the mail processing system will not be used exclusively for the purpose of processing mail related to improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Similarly, depending on the volume of mail it may be more reasonable to manually process the mail.

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Purchase of vehicles requires prior approval from the EAC. While motorized vehicles are an allowable cost when they are used for voter education pursuant to Section 101(b)(1)(C) of HAVA, there are significant issues related to allocability and cost reasonableness that must still be considered in assessing the appropriateness of such an expense. For example, if the vehicle will not be used exclusively for the purpose of voter outreach or other activities associated with improving the administration of federal elections and is used for purposes unrelated to improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Even in this instance, the appropriate percentage of cost could only be allocated to the funding programs under Section 101 or Section 251(b). As for the reasonableness analysis, it may be more reasonable to rent a vehicle rather than to purchase, insure, and maintain vehicles that will only be used infrequently or periodically.

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Forklifts used exclusively for stacking, moving, and storing voting equipment are an allowable cost for this stated purpose. However, allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered. For example, if the forklift will not be used exclusively for the purpose of moving stored voting equipment and are used for purposes unrelated to improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Similarly, it may be more reasonable to rent a forklift rather than to purchase and maintain forklifts that will only be used infrequently or periodically.

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Office furniture would generally be considered an allowable cost if such cost is not covered by the maintenance of effort requirements imposed by Section 254(a)(7). The purchase of office furniture is only allowable if it can be demonstrated that the furniture would improve the administration of federal elections. As such, those costs could only be allocated to the funding programs under Sections 101 and 251(b). Factors such as allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered. For example, if the office furniture will not be used exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Furthermore, the cost for the furniture must be reasonable as compared to what the election jurisdiction is getting.

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Generally, upgrading wiring is an allowable cost for this purpose. Upgrading wiring is justified if it improves the administration of federal elections. It can be paid for using Section 101 funds or Section 251 funds up to the minimum payment identified in Section 252. However, allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered. If the internet wiring will not be used exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant.

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 Yes. Maintenance of a statewide voter registration system can be paid for from Section 251 funds or Section 101 funds. However, cost reasonableness must still be considered. The state should carefully consider the prudence of funding an ongoing expense with a one-time funding source like these HAVA funds. These costs will inevitably be assumed by the state or local government upon the exhaustion of federal funds.

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The January 1, 2007, date referenced in Section 301(a)(3)(C) applies to when the funds are provided, not when the equipment is purchased. If a jurisdiction already meets the accessibility requirements under Section 301(a)(3) and they wish to purchase additional voting systems, the state would not be required to procure additional voting equipment that is accessible to persons with disabilities. Nevertheless, the equipment procured with those funds must meet all other HAVA Section 301 requirements.
New voting equipment purchased with additional HAVA funding received after January 1, 2007 must meet the requirements of Section 301(a)(3). If mixed funding sources are used in future voting system procurements, states will have to separately account for restricted and unrestricted money separately if the state wishes to purchase non-accessible equipment.

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The EAC has concluded that (for the purposes of requirements payments) any pre-award cost “incurred pursuant to negotiation and in anticipation of grant award”, as required by 17 OMB Circular A-87, Pre Award Costs, is reimbursable if the cost was included in a (later) approved HAVA State plan and it was incurred after Congress appropriated HAVA requirements payment funding on February 20, 2003. In order to be properly attributed as a pre-award grant cost, a cost must have been necessary to incur in order to meet the scheduled requirements of the grant. HAVA Title III requirements include a mandate for the creation of a Statewide Voter Registration Database (42 U.S.C. §15483(a)) on or before January 1, 2004 (42 U.S.C. §15483(d)) or apply for a waiver (for good cause shown) to extend the deadline to January 1, 2006. The EAC has concluded that it is reasonable for a State to conclude that pre-award expenditures on Statewide Voter Registration Databases were necessary in order to meet HAVA timelines. Pre-award costs expended to procure a voter registration database that will meet HAVA requirements fits the use limitation. The cost must not have been allocated to meet the States maintenance of effort requirement or 5 percent matching fund requirement. In order to properly allocate a pre-award cost to a grant, the recipient must get written approval from the awarding agency, the EAC. 

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Cellular phones would generally be considered an allowable cost. Cost principles such as allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered.

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Generally, making modifications to a warehouse to store voting equipment is an allowable cost. (This expense is not directly related to meeting any of the Title III requirements. Only Section 101 funds or Section 251(b) funds may be used for this expense.) However, allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered. For example, if the warehouse modification will not be used exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Similarly, it may be more reasonable to select a different warehouse rather than retrofit the current structure.

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While purchasing buildings and/or equipment is an allowable cost, leasing has certain limitations. Leasing equipment is considered an allowable expense under 2 CFR 200.465, according to the limitations and conditions of paragraphs (b) through (d). Limitations include:

  • “Sale and lease back” arrangements cannot cost the state or local government more than when it owned the property. The costs include expenses such as depreciation or use allowance, maintenance, taxes, and insurance.
  • A “less-than-arms-length” agreement (i.e., a state government established a corporation to own the property then leases it back to the state) cannot cost the state or local government more than if title had vested in the state or local government.
  • Rental costs under leases which are required to be treated as capital leases under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) are allowable only up to the amount that would be allowed had the state or local government purchased the property on the date the lease agreement was executed. Unallowable costs include amounts paid for profit, management fees, and taxes that would not have been incurred had the property been purchased.

Generally, purchasing a building for federal election activity is an allowable cost (e.g. purchasing a warehouse to store voting equipment). (This expense is not directly related to meeting any of the Title III requirements. Thus, only Section 101 or Section 251(b) funds may be used.) Factors such as allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered in determining the appropriateness of the expense. If the warehouse will not be used exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Similarly, it may be more reasonable to rent a warehouse rather than purchase one.

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Yes. Section 101 funds may be used to train election officials, poll workers, and election volunteers. Section 251 can only be used for the educational costs that benefit federal elections, as those funds are restricted to improving the administration of federal elections funds subject to the requirements of Section 251(b). The State should carefully consider the prudence of funding an ongoing expense, such as training, with a one-time funding source like HAVA funds. These costs will inevitably be assumed by the state or local government upon the exhaustion of federal funds.

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No. To fit within the allowable expense of voter education, the item procured must provide information on voting procedures, rights, or technology. Items intended to “get out the vote” or merely encourage voting do not meet this requirement. Items that are not fundamentally educational may be considered advertising or public relations costs prohibited by OMB Circular A-87 and 2 CFR 200.421.

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Generally, HAVA funds may be used to purchase food consumed during training. The provision of food is covered by OMB Circular A-87 and 2 CFR 200.432. Meals associated with meetings and conferences are allowable. However, meals that are used for entertainment purposes and alcohol are not allowable.

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Generally, making polling place accessible is an allowable cost. However, this expense is not directly related to meeting any of the Title III requirements. As such, this cost can be allocated only to funding programs under Section 101 or Section 251(b).

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Yes. Consistent with standard federal guidelines, the state may authorize use in the office or official duty station on an occasional basis, provided that the use involves minimal or negligible additional expense and does not interfere with official business. Employees are expected to exercise common sense and good judgment in the personal use of equipment. The conduct of official business always takes precedence over any limited personal use. Such personal use would be so small that accounting for it would be unreasonable or impractical.

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According to Sections 101(b)(2) and 251(f) of HAVA, funds cannot be used to pay for costs associated with litigation except to the extent that legal expenses constitute uses/activities that are permitted under these sections for the implementation of HAVA.

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Yes. However, grantees generally seek advice from the agency that administers the grant on what constitutes an allowable cost. A state may be able to obtain the information that it needs without the necessity of a legal opinion by consulting with other state departments that are administering federal grant programs at the state level. Grantees are encouraged to request the assistance of the EAC in determining the permissibility of certain costs rather than expending HAVA funds to make this determination. OMB Circular A-87, Defense and prosecution of criminal and civil proceedings, and claims, allows for legal expenses required in the administration of a federal program.

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HAVA funds may be used to replace any voting equipment designated by the grantee or its subrecipients to be at the end of its useful life. The replacement must meet the standards established by HAVA, appropriations language, and any other applicable EAC guidance. Equipment title holders should follow local and state rules for the disposition of sensitive equipment.

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Travel and lodging are allowable costs under the grant. If the conference directly supports the mission/activities of the election jurisdiction sending the employee, then this would be an allowable expense.

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Hiring permanent staff is an allowable cost. You would need to build that cost into your budget for the future after the HAVA grant ends. Also, keep in mind that the expenditure must meet the allocable criteria following 2 CFR 200.404. If the staff person will have duties beyond overseeing activities under the HAVA grant, the timesheet must allocate only the portion of time spent on election security and HAVA activities to the grant.

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No, HAVA funds can only be used for costs incurred in a federal election. If there are no candidates for federal office on the ballot, HAVA funds cannot be used to cover any expenditures.

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Expenses related to the installation or removal of security equipment which is used to enhance security of elections facilities are an allowable cost as the activity is reasonable to make election security improvements. This includes labor costs as appropriate.

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Yes, costs associated with the purchase, installation, and maintenance of security equipment are considered allowable under HAVA to the extent it improves the administration of federal elections. These costs can include video surveillance equipment and other physical security devices, labor for installation of security systems, and the costs of maintaining those systems. These costs cannot be allocated to the federal award if they are not related to the administration of federal elections, such as physical security for non-election equipment and facilities. For example, if a jurisdiction adds security cameras to a building, only the costs of purchasing, installing, and maintaining the cameras monitoring election facilities and equipment within the building could be allocated to HAVA funds. Please be aware that Section 889 of the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act federal restricts grantees from using federal funds to purchase equipment, services, or systems that use certain Chinese telecommunications and video surveillance equipment or services.   

 

See “What is Section 889 of FY2019 NDAA?” for additional information on the prohibition. 

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Capital improvements to land, buildings, or equipment which materially increase their value require prior written approval from the EAC per 2 CFR 200.439. Without pre-approval, capital improvement costs are not allowable.

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Yes. Consistent with Section 251(b) to use remaining Title II, Section 251 funds for the improvement of the administration of elections for federal office, the state must submit a certification that all the Title III requirements have been met (not just the voting system requirements) or certify prior to the time that all Title III requirements are met that the state will not use more than the minimum payment amount. States are still required to spend the funds in keeping with the State Plan. If the proposed spending on improving election administration is not reflected in the state plan and represents a material change, the state plan must be amended before spending funds on an allowable activity not identified in the plan.

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No, a state may not use state matching funds to satisfy the requirement that it maintain its effort. Maintenance of effort (MOE) requirements are separate from matching fund requirements. The intent of the MOE requirement is to assure that federal funding increases the amount of funding to a particular program or task and federal funds do not supplant state funds.

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No, Section 251 restrictions will not be lifted on a county-by-county basis. The plain language of Section 251(b)(2) of HAVA requires that the state have implemented the requirements of Title III prior to using more than what the state could have obtained as a minimum payment for activities to improve the administration of elections for federal office. Until Title III requirements are met across the state, the restrictions apply.

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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.

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States must use the funds for the activities described in the Consolidated Appropriations Act and approved by EAC in the state’s program narrative. In addition, states must follow the Uniform Guidance 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.

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No. You can only use state expenditures incurred during the period of the grant as match. Only the portion that falls within the grant period can be used as match.

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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. Grantees must document these kinds of contributions They can be used to meet the match requirements for 101 grant funds (including Election Security grants) if the grant has a matching requirement.

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The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 authorizes the federal funds, titled “Election Security Grants” in the Act “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.

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.”

See “Post-Award Usage of Funds” for specific examples of allowable activities under HAVA.

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Generally, a state or county can rent or lease out its voting systems. Common Rule, 41 C.F.R. § 105-71.32 Equipment, prohibits a grantee from using a piece of equipment purchased using grant funds to compete unfairly with the private sector. If a state rents or leases its voting machines out it must do so in a way that does not thwart competition with the private sector. The price paid by the lessee must be a competitive price. Equipment is defined by the common rule as "tangible, non-expendable, personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit. A grantee may use its own definition of equipment provided that such definition would at least include all equipment defined above.” If the voting systems meet the definition of “equipment” either under the Common Rule or state laws, rules or regulations, the restriction must apply. Income from leasing voting equipment to other jurisdictions would be considered program income, see OMB Circular A-102, Common Rule, 41 C.F.R. § 105-71.125 Program Income. The only appropriate treatment of income classified as program income during the grant period is for the county to dedicate the income to uses permitted under HAVA Section 251. Section 251 allows the use of HAVA funds to implement the requirements of Title III; once those requirements are met, to improve the administration of elections for federal office. After the expiration of the grant period, the income generated by the lease of voting systems may be used by the county as it chooses.

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No. The voting equipment provisions of HAVA apply only to elections for federal office. However, there may be state laws, rules or regulations that require the use of accessible voting systems in state and/or local elections.

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No. The EAC will recoup any misspent funds by a subrecipient from the prime recipient.

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The Department of Justice has enforcement authority over Title III of HAVA. Any claim, lawsuit, or request for remedies including penalties would be sought against the state for its failure or one of its county’s failure to comply with HAVA, would be brought by the Department of Justice.

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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.

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Yes, It can apply to the state’s overall match. The match on a federal grant is not tracked by subgrant, only by the overall grant. Grantees are responsible for ensuring they have verifiable records of the match. 

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The limit is applied on each subgrantee. The maximum amount a state can include in its modified total direct rate is $25,000 for each subgrantee. E.g, if you have one subgrantee that gets $40,000 and another that gets $20,000, the amount you can include in the calculation of modified total direct costs is $45,000 (25,000 + $20,000). 

In addition, subgrantees might also have indirect costs they could claim under the grant, either as federal share or local match. However, the state is responsible for determining if local offices have a negotiated indirect cost rate or could claim a de minimus 10%. There can also be local election offices that do not have any indirect costs; in which case, there would be no percentage to claim. The grantee must make those determinations before allowing subgrantees to claim indirect costs. 

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The state should follow the regulations at 2 CFR 200 related to the requirements for match documentation. They apply to subgrantee as well as grantees and the grantee is responsible for ensuring subgrantees are following the regulations and maintaining appropriate expenditure documentation. That said, the regulations do not prohibit such an approach. Therefore, yes, if that is a state’s strategy to identify and document match after considering the timeliness and expense of such an approach.

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Generally, supplanting occurs when a state or local government reduces state or local funds for an activity specifically because federal funds are available or expected to be available to fund that same activity. Supplanting of state funds with HAVA funds is not permitted. Federal funds must be used to supplement existing state or local funds and may not replace state or local funding that has been appropriated or allocated for the same purpose or that is required by law.

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Under 2 CFR 200, computers are considered supplies, not equipment, unless the per unit cost is over $5,000 or the state threshold, if lessor. You can dispose of them following your state procedures. However, if you sell the computers, the funds you receive are considered program income under the grant in proportion to the grant funds used to purchase the supplies and must be spent on activities allowable under the grant or repaid to EAC upon closeout. Program Income must also be reported on the FFR.

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The Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act included a prohibition on federal agencies and federal grant recipients from procuring certain Chinese telecommunications and video surveillance equipment. The Section 889 restrictions went into effect on August 13, 2020, for federal grant recipients under a new section to 2 CFR contained in 2 CFR §200.216.

The prohibited telecommunications equipment is telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies Company or ZTE Corporation (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities). Additionally, video surveillance and telecommunications equipment produced by Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, or Dahua Technology Company (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities) that is used for the purpose of public safety, security of 16 government facilities, physical security surveillance of critical infrastructure, and other national security purposes is covered equipment under Section 889.

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Under Section 889 and the subsequent regulation 2 CFR §200.216, federal grant recipients and sub-recipients are restricted from using federal funds to procure, obtain, extend or renew a contract, or enter into a contract for equipment, services, or systems that use the prohibited telecommunications equipment or services as of August 13, 2020.

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No, 2 CFR §200.216, which applies to grantees, does not impose a certification requirement on grantees.

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While grantees are not expected to remove equipment installed prior to August 13, they should expect to and plan for a transition away from the prohibited equipment. Section 889 is clear on the prohibition against entering into new contracts, renewing existing contracts, and similar new transactions involving covered the equipment as of August 13, 2020. Grantees may use HAVA funds to transition away from the prohibited equipment.

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A corrective action plan (CAP) is a step-by-step plan of action that is developed to achieve targeted outcomes for resolution of an identified problem or noncompliance. The EAC requires a CAP for grantees that are out of compliance with grant requirements (e.g. missed reporting deadlines).

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The EAC considers requests for extensions on a case-by-case basis. Requests must be made in writing via email prior to the deadline of the required submission and should include an explanation for why the extension is needed.

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Yes, semi-annual, and annual reporting are required. Both a Federal Financial Report (FFR) and a narrative Progress Report are due for semi-annual and annual reporting cycles.

See “Reporting” for more information about the EAC’s reporting requirements.

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In addition to FAQs, the EAC publishes guidance on grant requirements such as reporting and closeout on our website: https://www.eac.gov/payments-and-grants/financial-progress-reporting

For additional guidance and general questions about EAC grants and HAVA, please email grants@eac.gov or HAVAfunding@eac.gov.

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The state must follow its own laws and procedures regarding the distribution of grant funds when issuing a sub-grant but must also assure that the sub-grantee is aware of the limitations imposed by the federal grant. A state must follow its own law as to whether a cost sharing agreement is required, or some other form of grant agreement is needed. However, there should be some documentation that supports the transfer of these funds to the local governments, whether it be a certification by the governments that they will comply with the limitations or that the governments receive funds on a cost reimbursement basis after providing a request for the funds and proof that they were spent in accordance with the state and federal restrictions. OMB Circular A-102, Common Rule, 41 C.F.R. § 105-71.137, Sub-grants, covers the requirements for states that issue sub-grants of federal funds.

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Under HAVA (254(b)(1)(d)) and the Uniform Guidance §200.305(b)(7)(ii) / §200.332(a)(2,3), HAVA grantee requirements are passed through to subgrantees. Where subgrants are disbursed as advanced payments, the subgrantee is required to place their funds in an interest-bearing account and report any interest earned and expended to the grantee. The HAVA grantee must report subgrant interest earned and expended on their FFR as part of the cumulative amounts reported on lines 10p (Total Federal interest earned) and 10q (Federal interest expenditures) on the EAC custom FFR. Subaward interest activities should be detailed in the subgrant narrative section of the progress report.

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The following CFDA numbers are assigned to HAVA funding programs and may be found on the Notice of Grant Award: (If you are a subgrantee of a state, the Secretary of state's office can tell you the CFDA number/numbers that apply to your grant/grants.)

  • 39.011 - Title I, Sections 101 and 102 – Original election reform payments made to states (distributed by the General Services Administration in 2003);
  • 93.617 - Title II, section 261 - grants to states for voting access for individuals with disabilities (aka EAID, distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2003, 2004, and 2005);
  • 93.618 - Title II, section 291 - grants to state protection and advocacy systems to promote voting access for individuals with disabilities (distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2003, 2004, and 2005);
  • 90.400 - Help America Vote College Program - grants to promote the participation of college students as nonpartisan poll workers (distributed by EAC before 9/30/04); and
  • 90.401 – Sections 251- Requirements Payments to states – (distributed by the EAC in 2004 - 2010);
  • 90.404 - Current Section 101 Election Security and CARES grants (distributed by EAC in 2018 and 2020).
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Interest earned on state matching funds should be included in Line 10(i) in the Recipient Share section. Line 10(i) will include the initial required match, interest earned on the recipient share and net program income earned. (Program income will not be reported on lines 10(l – o) because EAC uses that Program Income section to track interest earned on the federal funds). It is likely that only a state’s 251 state match earns interest because that match must be deposited in the Election Fund with the federal funds. Under Section 101, any required state match does not have to be cash deposited in the interest-bearing Election Fund.

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Interest earned on the federal share is reported in the Program Income section, on Line 10(l). We must track interest generated on federal funds separately, so we have dedicated lines 10 (l, n, and o) exclusively to this purpose. True program income is reported as part of the Recipient Share on Line 10(i) using the additive method, and in Box 12 Remarks.

See also “What is net program income and how is it reported on the Federal Financial Report (FFR)?”

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You must report expenditures separately for each grant awarded by EAC. Those grants could include an older 101 grant, a Title II, Section 251 grant, CARES funding, and a 101 Election Security grant.

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States must provide annual and semi-annual standard Federal Financial Reports and progress reports. The semi-annual reporting period is from October 1 to March 31 with a due date of April 30. The annual reporting period is from October 1 to September 30 with the due date of December 29.

Full reporting guidance can be found on our website: https://www.eac.gov/payments-and-grants/financial-progress-reporting

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No. When an expense to the grant can also be allocated to non HAVA funding, allocation methodology should follow 2CRF § 200.405. Examples: Equipment that benefits both federal and non-federal elections or election office salaries where time is allocated to federal and non-federal activities. The EAC can help you make the determination to allocate funds appropriately, which should occur at the time of procurement.

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There is no one way to allocate costs and allocation methods will vary across states.  There are two scenarios in which states may need to allocate costs between the benefits to the HAVA grant and other state office activities;  (1) when purchasing equipment or claiming costs such as salaries under the grant during the grant period and, (2) when you purchase equipment you will use after the grant ends.  Allocation is done at the point of purchase.  EAC can help you make the determination during the grant to allocate the funds appropriately when you purchase the items.  As examples, if you buy equipment solely in response to the pandemic and use it during the 2020 election, you can allocate the total cost to the CARES grant because it is a reasonable and necessary cost to respond to the pandemic.  If you buy laptops for your staff and they will perform duties outside of the grant during the grant period, you need to allocate the costs appropriately.  Grantees typically allocate percentages of time spent on grant and non-grant activities.   

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Program income is income you earn as a direct result of activities supported under the grant. For example, if you developed cyber security training materials with grant funds and charge your voting districts for them, the funds you receive in payment are program income. Net program income is the amount of income remaining after deducting the costs of providing the materials to voting districts, such as shipping costs. The EAC uses program income lines 10(l-o) exclusively for reporting federal interested earned and expended, therefore, net program income is reported as part of the Recipient Share on line 10(i) and in Box 12, Remarks of the Federal Financial Report.

See also “Where do we report interest earned on the federal share?”

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The SF-425 Federal Financial Report (FFR) should reflect all activities against the Federal award depending if you are reporting on a cash or accrual basis. Whether the grantee advances the payment, or provides it as a cost reimbursement-based award, reporting the subgrant expenses as they are incurred/approved provides an accurate reflection of the rate of spending on the award and abides by (2CRF § 200.502(a)).

Line 10.b (Cash Disbursements) and Line 10.e (Federal share of expenditures) should reflect the sum of all expenses including: direct costs for goods and services and approved reported subaward expenses.

Line 10.f (Federal Share of Unliquidated Obligations) should reflect the amount of outstanding dollars incurred by the grantee. For cash base reporting, 10.f reflects dollars incurred but not yet paid. For accrual base reporting, 10.f reflects dollars incurred but not yet recorded.

Please discuss any potential changes in reporting these expenditures on the FFR with the Grants Office in advance at grants@eac.gov.

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Under HAVA (254(b)(1)(d)) and the Uniform Guidance §200.305(b)(7)(ii) / §200.332(a)(2,3), HAVA grantee requirements are passed through to subgrantees. Where subgrants are disbursed as advanced payments, the subgrantee is required to place their funds in an interest-bearing account and report any interest earned and expended to the grantee. The HAVA grantee must report subgrant interest earned and expended on their FFR as part of the cumulative amounts reported on lines 10p (Total Federal interest earned) and 10q (Federal interest expenditures) on the EAC custom FFR. Subaward interest activities should be detailed in the subgrant narrative section of the progress report.

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Audit Resolution is the follow-up process with grant recipients to ensure grantees take appropriate and timely action to address OIG (Office of Inspector General) audit findings of HAVA funds. After the OIG issues a final report, the EAC Grants staff will work with the audited agency to implement recommendations from the audit report and confirm the grantee has taken appropriate correction action. The result will be a management decision by the EAC that describes what the grantee has done or will do to address the findings. The resolution process will be complete when the EAC confirms all actions are resolved.

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Audit resolution is complete and the EAC can close the audit when all required corrective action described in the management decision is complete. That process must be completed within 12 months of the date the OIG issues the audit. However, in most cases, corrective action should be completed much sooner. The management decision includes timelines for completion of any action that is still outstanding when the management decision is issued. Management decisions must be issued within ?? months of the date the audit report is issued.

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Questioned costs are expenses that are questioned by the auditor because of an audit finding (See 2 CFR 200.84). A questioned cost: 1) may result from a violation or possible violation of a state, regulation, or terms and conditions of a federal award, 2) may not be supported by adequate documentation, or 3) may appear unreasonable (does not reflect the actions that a prudent person would take in the circumstances).

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In general, the EAC will close grants within 120 days of the date the grantee submits a final Federal Financial Report (FFR) and progress report. This provides both the EAC and grantees time to complete all required steps. As part of the closeout process, the EAC needs to confirm the usage of any equipment bought with grants funds that has a current fair market value over $5,000, any unused supplies with a current aggregate fair market value over $5,000, and any unexpended amount that must be returned to the U.S. Treasury.


Full closeout guidance can be found on our website: https://www.eac.gov/payments-and-grants/financial-progress-reporting

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When the grantee requests a final FFR and progress report, the EAC provides closeout instructions that describes the process. The states must conduct an inventory of equipment and supplies, complete all final accounting, and close out any subgrants under the grant as part of the process. The state must also ensure the subgrantees have completed required financial and programmatic reporting, reviewed their inventory of equipment and residual supplies, and confirmed usage or requested instructions from EAC for disposition. The states then submit final FFRs and progress reports and a letter describing the disposition of equipment and supplies and certifying the completion of closeout of any subawards. Once the EAC receives and reviews the FFR, progress report, inventory lists, certification letter and any unexpended federal or interest balances are returned, we will issue a formal closeout letter describing the requirement for record retention and any other remaining requirements.


Full closeout guidance can be found on our website: https://www.eac.gov/payments-and-grants/financial-progress-reporting

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The regulation at 2 CFR 200.33 defines equipment as tangible personal property (including information technology systems) having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost of $5,000 or a lesser amount if the state has a lower threshold. 

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At closeout, states only need to provide an inventory list for any equipment that has a current fair market value over $5,000. If states subgrant funds, they are responsible for providing oversight for the inventory and usage of equipment at the subaward level prior to certifying their closeout.

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Fair market value is what a reasonable third party would be willing to pay. The resale value is the same as fair market value. We would expect the resale value to be less than what the jurisdiction originally paid for the supplies unless there is an extreme shortage and high demand, but you should not assume that the value would be reduced without doing some documented market research. 

You can access online reseller resources to determine fair market value and document your methodology.  You could also provide guidance to your counties to access online resources, e.g.  Amazon, eBay or other reseller marketplaces, to see what the unused supplies they have are selling for on the open market.

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No, however states are responsible for ensuring proper accounting and disposal of subgrantee equipment purchases. States are not required to submit inventories from their subgrantees to EAC, but states must oversee equipment purchases by their subgrantees and coordinate their disposition with EAC when the grant ends. States will submit inventories to EAC for equipment the state agency bought for its own use, but only for equipment that still has a current per unit fair market value over $5,000. For subgrantees, states follow the regulations at 2 CFR 200.305 which describe the requirements for managing and disposing of equipment. At closeout, states should request an inventory of equipment with a current fair market value over $5,000 from each subgrantee and determine how those subgrantees will continue to use and maintain the equipment. If the subgrantees are not going to continue to use the equipment for HAVA purposes, contact EAC to determine disposition of the equipment. If subgrantees will continue to use the equipment for election purposes, states will certify that subgrantees have met all financial and programmatic requirements under the grant and that equipment will continue to be used for HAVA purposes. 

See also "What is the process for equipment inventory?"

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Generally, states are required to follow their own laws and procedures for using, managing and disposing of equipment during the grant period. Absent state procedures you can find the minimum requirements in 200.313 for managing equipment (including replacement equipment), whether acquired in whole or in part under a federal award, until disposition takes place.

Property records must be maintained through the life of the property that include:

  • a description of the property,
  • a serial number or other identification number,
  • the source of funding for the property (including the FAIN),
  • who holds title,
  • the acquisition date,
  • cost of the property,
  • percentage of Federal participation in the project costs for the Federal award under which the property was acquired,
  • the location,
  • use and condition of the property,
  • Status of the property including any ultimate disposition data including the date of disposal or sale price of the property.

If states subgrant funds, they must ensure their subgrantees follow the requirements at 2 CFR 200.313 for equipment which provide the parameters for equipment inventories.  This is a long-standing requirement under federal grants. At closeout, grantees inform EAC how any remaining equipment will be used once the grant closes.

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When you log into Alchemer, select 'final report' and the system will populate with the additional fields you need to complete for the final report. 

Keep in mind that this final report should cover the full period of the grant and describe the accomplishments during the entire grant period for each required question.  Do not limit the response for any of the questions for this report to the last fiscal year. 

Full reporting guidance can be found on our website: https://www.eac.gov/payments-and-grants/financial-progress-reporting

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For annual and mid-year reports you should have this content ready for reporting. For the final report, you can summarize the data in the narrative and supplement later with an inventory list as part of the closeout process.  You can state that you intend to do that within your response.

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Yes, unexpended federal interest earned on an EAC grant must be returned to the agency. Grantees may retain up to $500 of the unexpected federal interest for administrative costs. 

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Yes, once we determine the award amount that is to be returned to EAC, we will adjust your next FFR to reflect the decrease in federal award and the required match will be applied according to the updated federal award

 

Yes, your minimum required state obligations is based on your total federal expenditures. At closeout, if you have not expended the full amount of federal funding available, your state obligation would be reduced accordingly. 

See also "I received a debt collection letter, why am I getting this?"

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EAC issues debt collection letters at closeout, if there are unexpended funds that need to be returned, or to collect disallowed costs based on an OIG audit finding. Debts must be paid within 90 days of receiving the debt collection letter. The EAC will charge interest and fees on an overdue debt in accordance with the Federal Claims Standards (31 CFR parts 900 through 999).

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