Public Comment Period for HAVA State Plan Amendments Begins
Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz
Indianapolis, IN - Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita today released for public comment proposed "material changes" to the Indiana State Plan to Implement the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) in accordance with Section 11 of the Plan. According to the Plan's amendment process, the Secretary of State proposes changes to the tri-partisan Vote Indiana Team, allows for a public comment period of thirty days, and publishes the changes in the Federal Register upon submitting the revised plan to the Election Assistance Commission.
The State Plan was written in 2003 to serve as a blueprint for Indiana elections after the problems with the 2000 election on a national level and Congress's answer to it by way of HAVA. To draft Indiana's Plan, Secretary Rokita convened a 28-member team brought together to represent a wide range of stakeholder groups. Represented on the team are state and county election administrators, including Secretary Rokita, Indiana Election Division Co-Directors, County Clerks, and County Voter Registration officials; racial and ethnic minorities; disability groups; the state Democratic, Libertarian, and Republican parties; state legislators; the Governor's office; the military; media; county administration; and the League of Women voters.
One of the most significant changes required to the Plan is the result of the total amount of federal funding received by Indiana to implement HAVA. Due to the Vote Indiana Team's cautious approach in 2003 regarding expected levels of federal HAVA funding, Indiana has received approximately $8 million more in federal funding than the Team anticipated. The availability of this additional federal funding is important in making further progress on several of the Team's HAVA implementation goals.
Several uses for the additional funds have been suggested by Vote Indiana Team members, ranging from replenishing the Plan's $2 million contingency fund which was used in the development of the new Statewide Voter Registration System to helping counties make polling places more accessible to disabled voters, educating poll workers and voters, and reimbursing counties further for upgrading voting systems to comply with HAVA standards.
"That we are re-convening to address how our election system can best be served by an additional $8 million in funds is a testament to the methodical and responsible spending carried out by the Vote Indiana Team in 2003," Rokita said. "While I am sure there will be many ideas as to how to spend the extra money, I am confident the Team will continue in its tempered approach in allocating these funds to best serve Indiana's voters."
The full text of the proposed amended version of the Plan is available on the web at www.sos.IN.gov. After the end of the comment period, the Vote Indiana Team will reconvene and consider all comments received during the comment period and discuss the Plan changes proposed by Secretary Rokita. After discussion, the Team may approve the proposed amendment by consent or majority vote.