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STATE OF NEBRASKA
John A. Gale
Secretary of State
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT:  Shelley Harrold
June 10, 2003  (402) 471-1572

Secretary of State Releases Nebraska State Plan For HAVA Legislation

Lincoln, NE - Secretary of State John Gale on Tuesday released the Nebraska State Plan to comply with the Federal Help America Vote Act. The federal legislation, in response to the 2000 Presidential election, requires states to establish an interactive voter registration system, provide voting equipment for the disabled and visually impaired at each polling site and other election reform measures. The federal government has so far appropriated approximately $10 million to Nebraska to fund the mandates. If the full amount is appropriated, Nebraska’s share would be slightly over $22 million.

"The Act is uniquely American." said Gale. "It contains federal mandates to the states, but it doesn’t federalize the system; it provides funding to the states, but the funding is not entirely just federal money due to a 5% match requirement. The Act requires reporting and accounting but generally relies on the State Election Officers to carry out the goals of the Act in cooperation with local authorities."

As Chief Election Officer for the state, Gale is required to develop a state plan for the use of the federal funds based on recommendations from a citizen’s group. Members appointed to the State Plan Commission included the election officials from Nebraska’s two largest counties, a mid-size county election official, President of the Nebraska County Clerks Association, a representative from the Secretary of State’s office and representatives from various advocacy organizations including the disabled community.

The State Plan will be open for written comments by the public for the next 30 days. After a review of any submitted comments, the State Plan will be published in the Federal register for 45 days. A copy of the Plan may be obtained by contacting Secretary of State Gale’s office at Suite 2300, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE 68502 or by calling 402/471-3229. The Plan and other Help America Vote Act materials are also available on the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.sos.state.ne.us/elec/hava/.

A public hearing on the Plan will be held on June 25, 2003 in Room 1507 of the State Capitol at 9:00 A.M.Secretary Gale encouraged those with comments to write with their suggestions. "I welcome and encourage everyone’s input, not only during the 30 day comment period mandated by the Act, but at any time as this plan is developed," said Gale.

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