Federal Election Assistance Commission
HELP AMERICA VOTE ACT OF 2002 Public Law 107-252 107th Congress
The requirements of Section 301(a)(1) of HAVA are met if the
voting system (1) conforms and complies with Section 188.8.131.52 of the 2002 Voting System Standards and (2) notifies the voter
through a visual and/or audio message prior to casting the ballot when the voter makes more selections than are legally allowed
in a single race or contest (overvote):
||that an overvote has occurred and|
||the effect of overvoting.|
Following that notification, the voting system must allow the voter to change his or her selection(s), if so desired. Voting
systems that preclude and prohibit overvoting meet this requirement. Notwithstanding the above, certain paper ballot voting
systems may meet the overvote requirements of Section 301(a)(1)(A)(iii) of HAVA by meeting the requirements set forth in Section
Section 301(a)(3) of HAVA requires that by January 1, 2006,
at least one voting system in each polling place be accessible to persons with disabilities such that the voting system allows
an individual with a disability the same access and opportunity to vote privately and independently as is afforded a non-disabled
voter. Compliance with Section 301(a)(3) requires that the voting system is accessible to persons with disabilities as defined
by the Americans with Disabilities Act, including physical, visual, and cognitive disabilities, such that the disabled individual
can privately and independently receive instruction, make selections, and cast a ballot. However, accessibility involves more
than the technical features of the voting system. The accessible voting system also must be used in a manner that is consistent
with providing access for disabled voters (e.g., the accessible voting system must be set up for use in a space that is accessible
to a disabled voter who uses a wheelchair).
Conformance with Section 301(a)(3) is a complex matter, which must take into account the disability of the voter, the advancement
of technology and its availability, and the efforts of the elections officials to make the voting process accessible to disabled
voters in a private and independent manner. The following are some factors that must be considered in determining accessibility
in conformance with Section 301(a)(3) of HAVA:
||Section 2.2.7 of the 2002 Voting System Standards;
||Section 184.108.40.206 (a) of the 2002 Voting System Standards;
||Section 3.4.9 (a-e) of the 2002 Voting System Standards;
||The voting system must afford a disabled voter the ability to perform the same functions (e.g.,
receiving and reading the ballot, making selections, reviewing selections, changing selections, and casting the final ballot)
as are afforded to a non-disabled voter. These functions may be provided to the disabled voter through features of the voting
system that are different than those used by non-disabled voters. The disabled voter need not and in many cases cannot have
an identical voting experience as a non-disabled voter (e.g., a voter with a visual disability is afforded the same access
to reading the ballot as a sighted voter when the ballot is read to the visually disabled voter using an audio component of
the voting system).
||Accessibility of the voting system to the voter includes accessibility to all equipment needed to
cast and count ballots. Many jurisdictions use a paper ballot voting system that requires the voter to submit his or her own
ballot after casting for purposes of ballot counting. Where such voting systems are in use, such jurisdictions must to the
extent reasonably and technologically possible afford a disabled voter the same ability to submit his or her own ballot, in
a private and independent manner, as is afforded a non-disabled voter. In this example, visually disabled voters must be allowed
to submit the ballot independently, as the disability is one that is capable of being accommodated, and technology and practice
provide a means that can be used to allow the visually disabled voter to submit a ballot with the same degree of privacy and
independence afforded to a sighted voter (e.g., a privacy sleeve).
||There may be certain disabled voters whose disabilities prevent them from voting independently (i.e.,
without assistance from a person of their choosing or a poll worker). While HAVA requires voting systems to allow independence
and privacy, it does not preclude a disabled voter from requesting and obtaining the assistance of another person as provided
in Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
||Section 301(a)(3)(B) contemplates that an accessible voting system can include a direct recording
electronic (DRE) voting system or other voting system equipped for individuals with disabilities. This advisory should not
be read to preclude the innovation and use of accessible voting systems other than DREs for purposes of meeting this requirement.
The minority language requirements of Section 301(a)(4) are
met if the voting system complies with the minority language requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (contained in Section
203 as well as Section 4(f)(4)) and the implementing regulations found at 28 C.F.R. Part 55 and 67 F.R. 48871 (July 26, 2002).
The voting system must provide all information, excluding the names of the candidates, that would otherwise be provided by
the voting system in English (whether written or oral) in the language(s) that the voting jurisdiction is required to provide
materials pursuant to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its regulations as referenced above.
The requirements of Section 301(a)(5) are met if the voting
system error rate does not exceed that established in Section 3.2.1 of the 2002 Voting System Standards.
Fraud: Across the United States many times over contained in the inaccurate voter registration lists at the county
levels. The next step in the process to prevent fraud is to clean up the voter registration lists in every county in
every state in the United States.
In 2006, as many states meet a host of Help America Vote Act requirements, it is time to focus on the
complete recommendations of the Help America Vote Act to understand the reasoning behind the HAVA requirements (not all-inclusive
list, see links) for states to
- replace punch cards and lever machine voting systems
- adopt a state database registry of electors
- use SSN number or other such information to establish registration or other election eligibilty and ID requirements
- last, but not least, for our focus, have in place by January 2007: voting systems purchased with Title II requirement
payments must meet disability access standards in section 201
e-book Daniel Tokjai Part 5 Voting Procedures
HAVA Complaint Procedure
PA Handout: First Time Voters, ID, Provisional Ballots, Complaints
Recommendations on Implementation of HAVA 2002
Summary of HAVA 2002
What does HAVA say about voting machines?
By January 1, 2006, HAVA requires that all states have in place voting systems which:
- Permit voters to verify their selections on the ballot, notify them of overvotes (votes for more than one choice in a
single race), and permit them to change their votes and correct any errors before casting the ballot. (This requirement does
not mean that electronic systems which check for overvotes are mandatory. Jurisdictions using paper ballots, punchcards, or
central-count voting systems instead may conduct voter education on how voters can prevent overvoting.)
- Produce a permanent paper record for the voting system that can be audited manually and is available as an official record
for recounts. This is distinct from a voter-verified paper audit trail. (HAVA does not require that the voter see a paper
copy of his or her vote).
- Provide to individuals with disabilities, including the blind and visually impaired, the same accessibility to voting
as other voters. That can be accomplished through use of at least one DRE or other accessible voting system at each polling
- Provide alternative language accessibility as required by law.
- Comply with the error rate standards (the percentage of votes lost by the voting system) established by the Election Assistance
As part of the general funds available to states to comply with the law, HAVA set aside $325 million in one-time payments
for states to replace their old punch card and lever machines by January 1, 2004, with an available extension to January 2006.
States which accepted these funds were required to replace ALL of their punch card and lever machines
Don't lose sight of the fact that ultimately the states retain constitutional authority for state elections in individual
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators
and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law
make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.
Unfortunately, states are reluctant to challenge the constitutionality of new mandates
which are largely unfunded. The 2001/02 federal legislation known as Help America Vote Act was not passed
as an amendment to the United States Constitution. Yet, the federal regulations will undoubtedly effect state elections.
Every voter should become aware of the changes in the law, particularly those changes that apply to voter registration and
Help America Vote Act: New Law Includes Access
This site includes highlights of requirements, how funding is distributed, grants to states and local government
units, and more.
In addition, HAVA was crafted to provide funding directly to the states to implement
its "requirements," the program remained grossly underfunded throughout 2003.
The Bush Administration delayed appointment of members of the Election Assistance Commission...
Four members were appointed and confirmed.
C-Span featured an interview with DeForest Soaries, U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Wednesday, February 18, 2004.
Other sites have compiled links to the HAVA legislation
Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center
Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental
Georgia Institute of Technology
Includes Timeline Note Jan. 1, 2007
copy timeline below
|United States Election Assistance Commission|
1225 New York Avenue N.W.
July 20, 2005EAC Advisory 2005-004: How to determine if a voting system is compliant with Section 301(a) –
a gap analysis between 2002 Voting System Standards and the requirements of Section 301(a)
The United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has
received a number of inquiries from several states as to whether one or more particular voting systems comply with Section
301(a) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). In addition, in one of its recent public meetings, EAC was asked to conduct
an analysis to identify the gaps between the 2002 Voting System Standards adopted by the Federal Election Commission (FEC)
and the requirements for voting systems under Section 301(a) of HAVA. EAC is not required by HAVA to preclear or approve voting
systems purchased by states and local election jurisdictions. Furthermore, EAC does not believe that it was the intention
of Congress or HAVA for EAC to assume this role. However, it is evident that states and local election jurisdictions as well
as testing laboratories are in need of information that will help in determining whether a voting system meets the threshold
requirements of Section 301(a). Thus, EAC offers the follwing analysis of Section 301(a) in light of the 2002 Voting System
Title III of HAVA, entitled “Uniform and Nondiscriminatory
Election Technology and Administration Requirements,” imposes certain requirements upon states and local jurisdictions
conducting federal elections. Section 301(a) sets forth the standards that voting systems must meet after January 1, 2006.
Those requirements include functions and features that, among other things: (1) allow the voter to review his or her selections
privately and independently prior to casting a ballot; (2) allow the voter to change his or her selections privately and independently
prior to casting a ballot; (3) notify the voter when he or she has made more selections in a single race than are permitted
(overvote); (4) provide for the production of a permanent paper record suitable to be used in a manual recount; (5) provide
voters with disabilities, including visual disabilities, the same opportunity for access and participation (including privacy
and independence) as for other voters; (6) provide accessibility in minority languages for voters with limited English proficiency
as required by the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and (7) provide for an error rate in operating the voting system that is no
greater than the error rate set forth in Section 3.2.1 of the 2002 Voting System Standards adopted by the Federal Election
Although the 2002 Voting System Standards set forth measurable
standards that predict compliance with some of the Section 301(a) requirements, those standards do not provide sufficient
and adequate guidance as to what is required to meet the accessibility requirements of Section 301(a)(3); do not prescribe
testable measures for language accessibility required by Section 301(a)(4) of HAVA; and do not prescribe standards that adequately
explain the requirements for overvote notification required by Section 301(a)(1) of HAVA. As such, EAC issues the following
policy statement to identify the gaps between the 2002 Voting System Standards and the requirements set forth under Section
301(a) of HAVA and to explain what is needed to meet the requirements of Section 301(a) above and beyond the testing requirements
established in the 2002 Voting System Standards.
The HAVA requirements (with information per paper-ballot)(as distinguished from paper-ballot record)
Confusion Over Lever Machines
Election officials in the Keystone State are sounding like keystone cops. There's disagreement
in Pennsylvania over what exactly the Help America Vote Act requires when it comes to lever voting machines, according to
Some county officials in the state are reluctant to get rid of their lever machines. But Pennsylvania state officials
have told them that HAVA requires those machines to be replaced. On the other hand, Election Assistance Commission spokesperson
Jeannie Layson says that there's nothing in HAVA saying that lever machines must go.
So who's right? Well, it turns
out that they both are.
It's headlines like these that make me wonder about the media search for all the truth...
Voting software vulnerable to hackers
The flaw affects Montco's central election computer. Officials are scrambling for a fix before the May primary.
By Jeff Shields and Nancy Petersen
Inquirer Staff Writers
Elections officials in Montgomery County are working on contingency plans for the May 16 primary after a state expert
said an updated voting system is vulnerable to hackers.
The primary vote could be held using the existing equipment provided by Sequoia Voting Systems, though that would
not comply with federal handicapped-accessibility requirements, said Joseph Passarella, the county's director of voter services.
State officials plan to retest the new Sequoia software - an upgrade necessary to add an audio option for visually
impaired voters - on April 11.
The problem arose not in individual voting machines, but in a central control unit that compiles votes from each
Michael Shamos, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said in an interview
he was able to hack in and change totals during a state test. The machines are also being purchased by Allegheny County...
"I found that by altering one file I could change vote totals from 10 to over 8,000," he said. "It easily let me
do that, so the security mechanisms associated with county central are deficient."
In another test involving a referendum question, the system would not allow a "no" vote.
"I told them to do a comprehensive fix and a comprehensive test and come back in two weeks," he said. "If they fix
it, we can distribute one copy to Allegheny County and one copy to Montgomery County and we're good to go."
Allegheny is buying 2,800 machines, and Montgomery is upgrading software in its existing 1,050 machines. There are
no problems with the machines that are in each precinct, he said.
Michelle Shafer, a spokeswoma for Sequoia, said the company, based in California, was confident the software would
pass a second test. She said the environment in which Shamos encountered problems was not a typical voting situation.
"Someone had full, unfettered access to the voting software, which would not be the case in an actual election,"
The new software is required to make the Montgomery County machines compliant with a federal law passed after the
2000 presidential election.
If the county is not in compliance with the law, it could lose $2 million in federal funding to pay for the upgrade.
Critics of the move to purely electronic voting systems say the problem also raises security questions about software
for Sequoia's old AVC Advantage system, used in Montgomery County for the last 10 years.
"We're saying the county really needs to look at Sequoia and wonder whether we can continue with them," David Heitler-Klevans
of the Election Reform Network said outside the Montgomery County Commissioners' meeting yesterday.
Shafer and Passarella said that Wednesday's test results did not mean similar problems exist in the Sequoia software
now used in Montgomery County.
State officials expressed concern about the problems.
"That's not a minor glitch," Pennsylvania Department of State spokesman Brian McDonald said. "We take this extremely
McDonald noted that Sequoia had been scheduled to bring in its machines for testing Jan. 25 but had postponed the
analysis until this week.
McDonald would not address what would happen if counties did not have handicapped-accessible machines that meet standards
of the 2002 federal Help America Vote Act in time for the May primary.
The software must also be certified by the federal government, he said.
Passerella said that if the new software does not pass the April 11 retest, the county will try to get 407 units
- one for each precinct - of another model of Sequoia machine that has been certified for audio voting.
|HAVA COMPLIANCE TIMELINE|
||States must accept materials from individuals registering to vote by mail. |
||Chief State election officials are required to give the Federal Election Commission the names
of the State election official selected to serve on the Standards Board. |
||States submit certification to the U.S. General Services Administration to be eligible for
funding to improve the administration of federal elections.|
||Effective date for HAVA-mandated provisional voting and voter verification rules.|
||Last day for States to qualify for a waiver of computerized statewide voter registration databases.
If States do not qualify for a waiver, they will be required to comply with requirements set up for computerized statewide
voter registration lists and first-time time voters who register by mail.|
||Last day for States to apply for a waiver to replace punch card or lever voting machines.
States that don't participate in the grant program must certify they have established a complaint procedure or submitted a
plan to the U.S. Attorney General. |
||Unless States qualify for a waiver, all punch-card and lever voting machines must be replaced
in States accepting federal machine buy-out funds. If the machines are not replaced then funds paid to the states for replacement
must be repaid. |
||States are required to comply with voting systems standards and implement a computerized statewide
voter registration database. One accessible voting machine must be in place in each polling place.|
||All voting machines purchased using HAVA funds must meet disability access standards.|