HAVA Funding Letter

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February 11, 2004

Dear Member of Congress:

We, the undersigned organizations, strongly urge you to support the implementation priorities and

programs of the “Help America Vote Act” (P.L. 107-252) (HAVA), through the new Federal agency

established for that purpose under the Act, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). Specifically,

we are asking for your support and assistance in getting this new federal agency up and running.

The EAC was designed to address national election issues that need immediate attention, such as the

current debate regarding the security risks of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems.

The security concerns raised over DREs are neither new nor unanticipated by HAVA. Congress

intended for all voting systems to receive a careful security review, with public input from all

stakeholders, including state and local election officials, civil rights organizations, vendors,

academics, and the scientific community.

To ensure that the necessary people, processes and technologies are engaged in developing standards

for addressing these security issues, HAVA creates a Technical Guidelines Development Committee,

chaired by the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), under the

auspices of the EAC. Working with NIST, the Committee is tasked with developing voting systems

guidelines, including standards that provide for the security of computers, computer data storage, and

networks used in voting systems.

The security of voting technology is a non-partisan issue and must remain so. The most appropriate

forum for reviewing such security issues and developing security standards for voting systems is the

EAC, as required under HAVA. To comply with HAVA and meet the election needs of the Nation,

the EAC must be able to act immediately by forming the technical guidelines committee that will

work with NIST to develop updated security standards for DREs and all voting systems. We ask that

you support HAVA as enacted and urge the EAC to expeditiously issue these security standards as

required by the Act.

In addition, the EAC must receive sufficient Federal funding to cover administrative costs for

operational start-up functions and programming. While we are grateful to Congress for living up to

its promise of providing $1.5 billion in FY 04 payments to the States, we remain concerned that the

$1.2 million appropriations amount for the EAC is insufficient. This amount is not enough to cover

salaries, administrative expenses and the costs associated with carrying out the agency's numerous

statutory responsibilities. At this time, they are unable to begin work on the two most critical

responsibilities they have--security standards for DREs and all voting systems, and the distribution of

HAVA funding to the States.

The new EAC Chairman, DeForest Soaries, has publicly expressed concern about the lack of

adequate funding, and has said that it may stymie the agency's best efforts to aid States and perform

the Commission's duties. We ask that you support adequate funding and flexibility for the EAC and

NIST to promptly and successfully carry out their statutory responsibilities under HAVA.

We thank you for your support for the implementation and funding of the "Help America Vote Act,"

and we look forward to working with you on these critical issues. Should you have any questions,

please contact Rob Randhava of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights at (202) 466-6058, Leslie

Reynolds of the National Association of Secretaries of State at (202) 624-3525, or any of the

organizations listed below.

Sincerely,

Organizations Representing State & Local Officials

Council of State Governments

International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers

National Association of Counties

National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks

National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund

National Association of Secretaries of State

National Association of State Election Directors

National Conference of State Legislatures

Civil Rights Organizations

American Association of People with Disabilities

American Civil Liberties Union

American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations

Americans for Democratic Action

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now

Center for Constitutional Rights

Common Cause

DemocracyWorks

Dēmos: A Network for Ideas & Action

Easter Seals

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights

League of Women Voters of the United States

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

National Association of Postal and Federal Employees

National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems

National Council of La Raza

Organization of Chinese Americans

People For the American Way

Project Vote

Public Citizen

Union for Reform Judaism

United Auto Workers

United States Public Interest Research Group

United States Student Association

Other Election Reform Stakeholders

The Election Center

U.S. Public Policy Committee, Association for Computing Machinery

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