HAVA Annual Report 2005–2006
The Help America Vote Act – A Report to Congress, the President, and the National Council on Disability
III. Training and Technical Assistance to Assist Protection and Advocacy Systems to Establish or Improve Voting Access for Individuals with Disabilities:
Section 291 of the Help America Vote Act establishes a training and technical assistance discretionary grant program funded by setting aside seven percent of the amount appropriated for State Protection and Advocacy Systems. Grants awarded under this authority must be used in the promotion of self sufficiency and protection of the rights of individuals with disabilities as this affects the establishment or improvement of access to full participation in the voting process.
The recipient(s) of these funds must assure that training and technical assistance will be provided to all Protection and Advocacy Systems throughout the nation. In FY 2005, three grants were awarded for a total amount of $347,177; whereas, a total of $338,103 was awarded to three grantees in fiscal year 2006. Refer to Table 3 for a detailed breakdown of grant award amounts for Training & Technical Assistance Grants.
Examples of activities carried out by award recipients of HAVA Training and Technical Assistance to Assist P&As grant include:
- The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) responded to over 120 individual requests from the Protection and Advocacy Systems for information and technical assistance. NDRN maintained and monitored a voting listserv for the Protection & Advocacy System staff with over 190 postings throughout an annual project period. The voting listserv provided a critical mechanism for P&As to communicate with each other about their activities and share best practices. The listserv also allowed NDRN to respond to queries, initiate discussion on important issues and quickly disseminate breaking voting news or information to the P&A network.
- The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) established and maintained consulting relationships with voting machine vendors and manufacturers. The following vendors/manufacturers provided the National Center on Nonvisual Election Technology (NCNET) video demonstrations of their accessible voting machines; Avante International Technology, Inc.; Diebold Election Systems, Inc.; Election Systems and Software (ESS); Hart InterCivic; and Sequoia Voting Systems.
- The National Technical Assistance Center on Voting and Cognitive Access provided several strategies to connect the Protection & Advocacy Systems with self-advocacy leaders/groups through written documents, presentations and teleconferences.
- The University of Montana disseminated a tip sheet to the Protection & Advocacy staff entitled Successful Strategies for Promoting Native American Electoral Participation. The tip sheet included background information on increased Native American electoral participation in 2004, recommendations for promoting electoral participation by Native Americans with disabilities, suggestions for collaboration between P&A representatives and Native Vote organizations, and a list of organizations involved in Native Vote projects.
Table 3. Training & Technical Assistance Fiscal Years 2005 & 2006 Funding Allotment
|Grantee||Fiscal Year 2005||Fiscal Year 2006|
|National Disabilities Rights Network||$128,530||$144,115|
|National Federation of the Blind||$85,245||$93,988|
|Portland State University||$128,127||No Award|
|University of Montana||No Award||$100,000|
The Help America Vote Act of 2002 has created an election reform movement that includes the replacement of outdated voting machines and the establishment of programs that provide funds to States and Territories specifically for the establishment or improvement of accessibility to all aspects of the voting process. In addition, our nation’s Protection and Advocacy Systems receive funds to provide added assurance that voting is accessible to all, despite the presence of a physical, intellectual, or “hidden” disability. Information gleaned from narrative reports submitted to the Administration on Developmental Disabilities indicates that the States are making great strides to ensure that the right to vote is accessible to all individuals.