HAVA Annual Report 2005–2006
The Help America Vote Act – A Report to Congress, the President, and the National Council on Disability
II. State Grants for Election Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (EAID):
Section 261 (c) of HAVA provides that funds be made available to States and units of local government which includes the Secretary of State and/or Chief Election Official. Grant awards are based on the relative size of the voting age population (i.e., number of individuals 18 years of age or older as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau) of eligible States and Territories, with the exception that no State or Territory applying for funds shall receive a payment of less than $100,000. State governments receiving HAVA funds are encouraged to collaborate with local chief election officials and local units of government (including Indian Tribes that are involved in conducting elections for Federal offices) in determining where and how to spend funds.
In FY 2005 & 2006, 110 grants ranging from $100,000 to $987,918 were awarded to States, (including the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands). The Northern Mariana Islands are not included as they do not hold Federal elections. Refer to table 2 for breakdown of States and units of local government funding allotment.
Section 261 of HAVA provides that funds be made available to States to carry out the following activities:
- Make polling places, including path of travel, entrances, exits, and voting areas of each polling facility, accessible to individuals with the full range of disabilities.
- Provide the same opportunity for access and participation (including privacy and independence) to individuals with the full range of disabilities.
- Provide training for election officials, poll workers, and election volunteers on how best to promote the access and participation of individuals with the full range of disabilities in elections for Federal office.
- Provide individuals with the full range of disabilities with information about the accessibility of polling places.
Examples of activities carried out by the States and Territories with Section 261 HAVA funds include:
- American Samoa – The American Samoa Election Office developed a wide range of programs to inform voters about information regarding the accessibility of polling places. A newsletter and brochure on basic voting etiquette, equal access and the American with Disabilities Act Accessibity Guidelines were produced for disabled voters and caregivers.
- California – The California Secretary of State established 54 contracts with counties in California to execute voting projects. Several counties used the funds to cover the costs of materials used to inventory polling places for ADA requirements and for materials and signage needed to bring polling places up to ADA standards.
- Idaho – The Idaho Secretary of State office produced audio files for the visually impaired and made them available on the Idahovotes.gov website with instructions on how to use the ballot marking device along with the full text of measures, amendments and propositions on the ballot.
- Maryland – The Maryland State Board of Elections (SBE) received permission from a local public school board to have permanent signs posted at schools to direct voters to the accessible election poll entrance for the Gubernatorial Primary Election in 2006. The installment of permanent signs relieved the election judges of a morning set-up responsibility and eliminated the risk that temporary signs would be put in the wrong location or disappears over the course of the day.
- Nebraska – The Nebraska Secretary of State Office provided voting information to officials, poll workers and the public through the purchase of a DVD designed for use in a neighboring state, which was adapted to detail Nebraska laws. The DVD, entitled “Operating Nebraska’s Election Equipment,” was distributed to all counties for voter training and available to a wide array of service oriented agencies for check-out.
- Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Department of State developed an electronic polling place survey to obtain information regarding accessibility concerns for disabled voters. The results were posted on the Department of State’s website to assist with monitoring the status of inaccessible polling places. This effort ultimately increased the number of accessible polling places due to improvements and consolidations made by the Pennsylvania Department of State.
- Texas – The Texas Secretary of State’s Office contracted with a company in 2006 to create a comprehensive online resource for election workers. The online training consisted of two components: the first component instructs election officials on the polling place rules and rules on qualifying voters and the second component included training on the new HAVA mandated voting machines.
- Vermont – The Vermont State Election Office implemented a vote-by-phone system which proved to be successful during the 2006 election.
- Virgin Island – The Virgin Island Election System created a poll worker category, titled “Facilitator,” specifically pooled from community members who work in the service industry, i.e. bankers, attorneys, principles, etc. The group of individuals received the regular poll worker orientation in addition to meeting with the Director of the Disability Rights Center to discuss and receive instructions on how to deal with challenged individuals. On Election Day, the individuals were assigned to polling places to facilitate the process and the voting experience of electors.
Table 2. States and Units of Local Government Fiscal Years 2005 & 2006 Funding Allotment
|State Territory<</th>||Fiscal Year 2005||Fiscal Year 2006|
|District of Columbia||100,000||100,000|
|New Hampshire (NH)||100,000||100,000|
|New Jersey (NJ)||246,625||277,149|
|New Mexico (NM)||100,000||100,000|
|New York (NY)||555,556||620,763|
|North Carolina (NC)||239,539||272,062|
|North Dakota (ND)||100,000||100,000|
|South Carolina (SC)||118,395||134,422|
|South Dakota (SD)||100,000||100,000|
|West irginia (WV)||100,000||100,000|