The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) established a program to provide federal funds to states and territories to upgrade voting systems and improve the administration of federal elections. The law also mandated the creation of the Election Assistance Commission to administer HAVA grant programs.

HAVA Formula Grants

The EAC provides HAVA formula grants directly to states and U.S. territories to support the administration of elections for federal office and improvements to voting and election systems. States and territories do not compete for the funds which are distributed based on predetermined formulas and eligibility requirements.

HAVA Section 252 provides the formula for allocation of funding appropriated to states (42 US.C.
§ 15402) which is based on the state's proportionate share of voting age population.
    "(b) State Allocation Percentage Defined. —The “State allocation percentage “for a State is the amount (expressed as a percentage) equal to the quotient of—
        (1) the voting age population of the State (as reported in the most recent decennial census); and
        (2) the total voting age population of all States (as reported in the most recent decennial census).
    (c) Minimum Amount of Payment. —The amount of a requirements payment made to a State for a year may not be less than—
        (1) in the case of any of the several States or the District of Columbia, one-half of 1 percent of the total amount appropriated for requirements payments for the year under section 257; or
        (2) in the case of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, or the United States Virgin Islands, one-tenth of 1 percent of such total amount.*"
*The Northern Mariana Islands was added through the Appropriations Law of 2020.

To be eligible to receive HAVA formula funds, a state must submit a letter requesting the funds, signed terms and conditions, a program narrative describing how funds will be used, and proposed budget. States must also be in compliance with all HAVA and federal requirements for their open HAVA grants.

HAVA Discretionary Grants

The EAC awards discretionary grants to eligible recipients on competitive basis. Eligibility and program requirements are published on grants.gov via a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Applications are screened for completeness and to ensure that applicants meet eligibility requirements. Eligible applications are then reviewed and scored based on the criteria outlined in the NOFO, including program design, organizational capacity, and cost effectiveness.

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