Payment & Grants

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Grants

On Friday, March 23, President Donald J. Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (the Act) into law. The Act included $380 million in grants, made available to states to improve the administration of elections for Federal office, including to enhance technology and make election security improvements. The 2018 HAVA Election Security Fund, authorized under Title I Section 101 of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, marks the first new appropriations for HAVA grants since FY2010. This funding will provide states with additional resources to secure and improve election systems. Below is additional information about the grants.

 

"This FAQ is a living document and updated as new information becomes available. This was last updated on March 30, 2018."

HAVA Funds Questions

2018 HAVA Election Security Funds

Questions & Answers

2018 HAVA Election Security Funds

How much money is available and how much will each state be awarded?

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 provides $380 million to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), as authorized under Title I Section 101 of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 (P.L. 107-252), to make grant payments to states using the voting age population formula described in Sections 101 and 103 of HAVA. A chart showing how much each state is being awarded can be found at https://www.eac.gov/2018funding.

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Who is eligible to receive funds?

Awards will be made to the entities eligible to receive federal assistance under Title I of HAVA, which includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands (herein referred to as “the states”). The states may re-grant/distribute funds to local election districts/offices at their discretion.

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When will the funds be available for states to use and how long do states have to spend the funds?

States will receive grant award notification letters from the EAC by early April 2018. The letter will allow states to incur costs, with prior EAC approval, against the forthcoming grant awards, effective the date of the notification letter. Funds will be available for states to deposit in their state election accounts when they return signed grant documents and the required certifications and assurances. States have until September 30, 2023 to request their funds and get the money in their accounts, after which time any funds remaining at EAC will automatically be returned to the U.S. Treasury.  

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What is the process for applying for funds?

The funds are available as formula, non-competitive grants. States will be asked to submit a 2-3 page narrative overview of activities to be supported with the funds and a line item budget within 90 days of receiving their Notice of Grant Awards. Detailed guidance on development of the plans and budgets will be forthcoming. Note that the awards will be issued and funds available for drawdown prior to receipt of the plan overview to expedite and support any needed expenditures ahead of the 2018 Election.

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Is there a state match requirement and when/how do states have to provide the match?

States are required to match 5 percent of these funds awarded within two years of receiving federal funds. States may either deposit matching funds in their state election accounts or track eligible funds/activities from their state and local general operating budgets to meet the match obligations. State and local funds used for match must be different from funds used to meet Maintenance of Effort or state match associated with HAVA Requirement Payments. American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands are exempt from the match requirement.

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How can states use the funds?

Consistent with provisions in HAVA, states have discretion upon expenditures. The EAC can answer specific questions about how the money may be utilized, and will be capturing questions from states and sharing the answers in updated versions of this FAQ document. 

As a point of reference, the EAC is including along with these FAQs the section of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 that authorizes and appropriates the federal funds as well as pages 1 and 57 of “Division E – Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2018,” which is a joint explanatory statement that indicates congressional intent on how the funds may be spent. The joint explanatory language provides on page 57, that:

The bill provides $380,000,000 to the Election Assistance Commission to make payments to states for activities to improve the administration of elections for Federal office, including to enhance election technology and make election security improvements, as authorized under sections 101, 103, and 104 of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 (P.L. 107-252). Consistent with the requirements of HAVA, states may use this funding to

  1. Replace voting equipment that only records a voter's intent electronically with equipment that utilizes a voter verified paper record;
  2. Implement a post-election audit system that provides a high level of confidence in the accuracy of the final vote tally;
  3. Upgrade election­ related computer systems to address cyber vulnerabilities identified through Department of Homeland Security, or similar scans or assessments of, existing election systems;
  4. Facilitate cybersecurity training for the state chief election official's office and local election officials;
  5. Implement established cybersecurity best practices for election systems; and
  6. Fund other activities that will improve the security of elections for Federal office.

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Will the funds be available in time to impact the 2018 elections?

The EAC is committed to making funds available as soon as feasibly possible. By releasing these funds quickly, it is hoped that the grants can have an immediate impact on the 2018 election cycle. How the funds will impact the 2018 elections will be entirely determined by how and at what pace states and localities deploy the federal resources. 

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What are the reporting requirements for states receiving funds?

States must provide an annual standard Federal Financial Report and program narrative for the period ending September 30, which is due by December 30 of the same year.

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What if our state still has some HAVA funds remaining?

Any HAVA funds still remaining at the state level should be tracked and reported separately from this new award. HAVA funds disbursed in earlier years are available for use until expended and have no impact on the amount awarded for this grant program.

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Can funds be distributed if the EAC does not have a Commissioner quorum?

Yes. A quorum is not needed to distribute funds to states.

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HAVA Section 251, 101, 102 Funds Questions

Capital Improvements

Questions & Answers

Capital Improvements

Can a locality use HAVA funds to make modifications to a storage space in order to provide appropriate storage for voting equipment?

Generally, making modifications to a warehouse to store voting equipment is an allowable cost. However, this expense is not directly related to meeting any of the Title III requirements. Only Section 101 funds or Section 251(b) funds may be used for this expense. However allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered. For example, if the warehouse modification will not be used exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of Federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of Federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Similarly, it may be more reasonable to select a different warehouse rather then retrofit the current structure. 

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May HAVA Section 101 or 251 funds be used to purchase a building to be used for warehouse voting system equipment?

Generally, purchasing a warehouse to store voting equipment is an allowable cost. This expense is not directly related to meeting any of the Title III requirements. Thus, only Section 101 or Section 251(b) funds may be used. Factors such as allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered in determining the appropriateness of the expense. For example, if the warehouse will not be used exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of Federal elections, only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of Federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Similarly, it may be more reasonable to rent a warehouse rather then purchase one. 

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Can HAVA Section 102 funds be used to buy, rent or improve a warehouse to store voting systems?

No. Section 102 of HAVA grants payments to States for the purpose of replacing punch card and lever voting systems not for the storage or warehousing of such equipment. 

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May HAVA funds be used to rent space to store voting equipment purchased to meet HAVA requirements?

Generally, renting a warehouse to store voting equipment is considered to be an allowable cost. This expense is not directly related to meeting any of the Title III requirements. Thus, only Section 101 or Section 251(b) funds may be used. Factors such as allocability and cost reasonableness must still be considered in order to determine the appropriateness of this type of expense. If the warehouse will not be used exclusively for the purpose of improving the administration of Federal elections (e.g., rental space would be used to house equipment other than voting systems that would be used in Federal elections), only that percentage of costs associated with the administration of Federal elections can be charged to the HAVA grant. Rental costs of buildings and equipment are covered by OMB Circular A-87.

Rental costs under leases which are required to be treated as capital leases under Generally Accepted 13 Accounting Principles (GAAP) are allowable only up to the amount that would be allowed had the State or local government purchased the property on the date the lease agreement was executed. The provisions of Financial Accounting Standards Board Statement 13, Accounting for Leases, determine whether a lease is a capital lease. The determination is based on factors such as if the lease transfers ownership of the property to the lessee by the end of the lease term; contains a bargain purchase option; the lease term is equal to 75 percent or more of the estimated economic life of the leased property unless the lease term falls within the last 25 percent of the total estimated economic life of the leased property; or the present value at the beginning of the lease term of the minimum lease payments excluding executory costs such as insurance, maintenance, and taxes to be paid by the lessor, including any profit, equals or exceeds 90 percent of the excess of the fair value of the leased property to the lessor at the inception of the lease.

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HAVA Section 251, 101, 102 Funds Questions

Questions & Answers

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