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HAVA Background

The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 was passed by the U.S. Congress to make sweeping reforms to the nation's voting process. HAVA addressed improvements to voting systems and voter access that were identified following the 2000 presidential election. The text of HAVA can be found at Public Law 107-252, 42 U.S.C. 15301-15545.

HAVA created new mandatory minimum standards for states to follow in several key areas of election administration. The law provided funding to help states meet these new standards, replace voting systems and improve election administration. HAVA required that the states implement the following new programs and procedures: provisional voting, voting information, upgraded voting equipment, statewide voter registration databases, voter identification procedures and administrative complaint procedures.

HAVA established the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to assist the states regarding HAVA compliance and to distribute HAVA funds to the states. The EAC also is responsible for creating voting system guidelines and operating the federal government's first voting system certification program.

Each participating state was required to appoint a citizen advisory committee to advise the chief election officer in the development of a state plan to implement HAVA. Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale appointed the 16-member Nebraska State Plan Commission in 2003 to help implement HAVA. The Nebraska State Plan was adopted in 2004 and amended in 2009.

Using federal funds, major election improvements in Nebraska have been implemented under Gale’s administration to meet the HAVA requirements. Among the improvements, all Nebraska counties received new ballot tabulation equipment and switched to a computerized statewide voter registration system.