NASS Calls on Congress to Provide the Remaining $396 Million in Outstanding HAVA Funds

For Immediate Release

December 14, 2017

Washington, DC – In 2002, Congress passed the “Help America Vote Act” (HAVA) to help states improve election systems and practices. Under the Act, Congress committed $3.9 billion to states for these efforts, but today, fifteen years later, Congress still has yet to provide $396 million of that funding.

As election officials around the country work to update and maintain aging election systems, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) calls on Congress to assist them in this effort by providing states with the remaining funding under HAVA.

HAVA was the first piece of federal legislation to provide funding for election administration improvements, and states used the opportunity to enhance the security, accessibility, accuracy and reliability of election systems. Implementation of HAVA was a success and it helped improve the voting experience for all Americans over the last fifteen years.

But as the existing election infrastructure ages, election officials are increasingly required to modernize and innovate in order to ensure that elections continue to be administered in a secure and efficient manner. These efforts have become more challenging as election officials work to counter cyber security threats to election systems.

Meeting these demands requires funding sources that are all too often unavailable. Providing the remaining funding under HAVA will not solve all of the challenges election officials face, but it will help states enhance the efficiency and security of elections, including through the purchase of new voting systems, the implementation of additional cybersecurity tools, and the hiring of additional IT professionals.

“The challenges faced by state and local election officials in 2017 are quite different from those we faced in 2002. My colleagues and I agree that providing the remaining $396 million that was promised by Congress, would go a long way to aiding the states as they prepare for 2018 and beyond.” said Connie Lawson, President of NASS and Indiana’s Secretary of State.

Election officials strive to ensure that elections are administered in a secure manner, whether it’s protecting voter registration data from cybersecurity threats or ensuring that the votes they cast are protected from tampering or manipulation. As election officials work to fulfill this commitment to improve voter confidence, Congress should fulfill its commitment to states and fully fund HAVA.

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