Help America Vote Act
Missouri's State Plan
SEC. 254. (a) In General.--The State plan shall contain a description of each
of the following:
(1) How the State will use the requirements payment to meet the requirements of title III, and, if applicable under section 251(b)(2), to carry out other activities to improve the administration of elections.
TITLE III REQUIREMENTS
On October 29, 2002, President Bush signed HR 3295, the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), a federal election reform bill that provides significant funding to the States for the improvement of elections.
The requirements of title III of HAVA for Missouri are as follows:
Voting Systems Requirements
- Second chance voting
- Audit trail for each machine
- Accessible to voters with disabilities
- Alternate language accessibility (not applicable to Missouri)
- Meet voting system error rate standards
- Uniform counting standards
Provisional Voting Requirements
- Notify individual that the individual may cast provisional ballot if name does not appear in poll book
- Provide for prompt verification
- Count provisional ballot if it is determined that individual was eligible
- Establish free access system that any individual who casts a provisional ballot may access to discover whether the individual’s vote was counted, and if not counted, the reason the vote was not counted
- Give individuals who cast provisional ballots information about the free access system at the time they cast their provisional ballots
- Provide separate provisional ballots for ballots cast pursuant to court order or other order extending the time established for closing the polls
- Voting Information Requirements
- Post voting information at polling place
- Post voting information at polling place
Computerized Statewide Voter Registration Database
- Establish single, uniform, official, centralized, interactive computerized voter registration list maintained and administered at the state level
- Establish standards for accuracy of voter registration records
- Establish standards for regular updates of voter registration records
Requirements For Voters Who Register By Mail
- Require first time voter who registers by mail to present valid identification
- Provide opportunity to vote a provisional ballot if such individual fails to provide proper identification
- Revise mail-in voter registration application to include questions about whether applicant is a United States citizen and whether applicant will be 18 years of age on election day
Missouri is already in a good position to comply with the title III requirements of HAVA. Following the November, 2000 general election, the Secretary of State assembled a bipartisan commission of local election officials from across the State to review current laws, seek public input, and make recommendations for changes in Missouri's elections statutes and rules. As a result, in 2002 the General Assembly passed Senate Bill No. 675, a comprehensive election reform package, which was signed into law by the Governor. Several provisions in Senate Bill No. 675 are similar to provisions in HAVA, such as provisional voting, computerized voting systems, and voter identification. To address the remaining HAVA compliance issues, another elections bill, House Bill No. 511, has been passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor. The main purpose of the bill specifically is to ensure that Missouri fully complies with HAVA. A copy of the most current version of House Bill No. 511 can be found on the internet at <http://www.house.mo.gov/bills03/biltxt/senate/1632S.07F.htm> and is incorporated by reference herein.
HAVA provides significant funding to Missouri for improving the elections process. Assuming full funding, Missouri can expect to receive up to $8.9 million for election administration improvement (section 101 money); up to $10.5 million for punch card replacement (section 102 money); and up to $57.3 million to meet the requirements of title III (sections 252 and 257 requirements payments).
The title III funding is expected to be distributed over the next three fiscal years. If fully funded, the $57.3 million requirements payments will be made available to local election authorities either through grants or a revolving loan program to upgrade their voting systems and administration so that they fully comply with HAVA, and ongoing maintenance of the statewide voter registration database to keep it in compliance with HAVA.
Second Chance Voting. Section 301 of HAVA requires voting systems in Missouri to meet three requirements: (i) allow voters to verify their votes in a private and independent manner; (ii) allow voters the opportunity to correct any errors in a private and independent manner; and (iii) notify voters if they have cast multiple votes for one office (known as over voting) and allow the opportunity to correct the error. Under current Missouri law and practice, Missouri already complies with (i) and (ii) and some jurisdictions using precinct registers with optical scan voting systems comply with (iii). However, those jurisdictions using a punch card voting system, a central count optical scan system, of paper ballots, do not comply with (iii). To ensure uniformity throughout the State, the Secretary of State will develop education plans for each type of voting system used in Missouri to comply with the second chance voting requirement for over vote correction and notification. These plans will be made available to local election authorities that choose to meet the over vote notification and correction requirement through education. Local election authorities also will have the option to provide scanners or other mechanical or computerized equipment at the polling place to satisfy this requirement.
Audit Trail. Current state law requires all computerized voting systems in Missouri to have the ability to provide a paper audit trail. The Secretary of State will not approve the use of any computerized voting systems in Missouri unless it can produce a paper audit trail that complies with HAVA and current FEC accessibility standards.
Accessibility. Following are the guidelines and criteria that the Secretary of State will use to ensure that the accessibility requirements for voting systems are met:
The accessible machine will be defined as one that meets the current federal accessibility standards in section 2.2.7 and has been certified by an ITA as conforming to those technical standards.
A usability task force made up of a variety of people with disabilities including those who primarily use large print, those who primarily use audio output, and those who need alternative input mechanisms should be established to provide non-technical usability reviews of products that have been certified as meeting the FEC 2002 accessibility standards. A standard set of descriptors should be developed for this group to implement in their usability review. The consumer usability review should assist with product purchasing decisions as described in #4 below.
It is anticipated that the State will allocate sufficient funds to pay for 100% of the costs associated with the purchase of the one required accessible voting system per polling place as outlined in #5 below.
Two contracts may be established to implement the most cost effective approach to delivering the required accessible voting systems.
- A multi-vendor state contract should be established with "discount off retail" prices that can be used at the option of local election officials for equipment purchases. If a local jurisdiction is
converting to accessible DRE systems, they should be able to select and purchase the accessible DRE system and required accessible systems from such multi-vendor state contract or negotiate their own contract.
(Such contract could also be used by counties to purchase only the required accessible voting systems, but would probably not be as cost effective as the following.)
- A single state contract for accessible voting systems should be established based on interested counties who are not converting to accessible DRE systems and are only purchasing the one required accessible
system per polling place. To maximize cost savings, an RFP should be done to secure the lowest and best offer for that number of accessible systems.
- A multi-vendor state contract should be established with "discount off retail" prices that can be used at the option of local election officials for equipment purchases. If a local jurisdiction is converting to accessible DRE systems, they should be able to select and purchase the accessible DRE system and required accessible systems from such multi-vendor state contract or negotiate their own contract. (Such contract could also be used by counties to purchase only the required accessible voting systems, but would probably not be as cost effective as the following.)
- Those local election authorities participating in the central purchase of accessible machines will be provided with one machine per polling place and sufficient back up equipment. Those local jurisdictions who purchase off the state multi-vendor contract and convert all voting equipment in a polling place will be funded at 100% of the costs for the accessible machines. Those local election authorities that purchase only accessible machines off the state multi-vendor contract will be funded at 100% of the costs for that number of machines as if they had been purchased under the central state contract.
Error Rate Standards. Missouri does not currently comply with the April 2002 FEC counting standards. We will be reliant on vendors to resubmit for certification equipment currently used in Missouri for counting. Equipment not resubmitted and/or failing to meet the standards will need to be replaced prior to January 1, 2006. Because of this, payments under Section 252 and 257 possibly will need to be allocated to meet this potential liability.
To facilitate certification, in our proposed budget described in section 6 of this State Plan we are including grants to Missouri college engineering schools for the purpose of becoming certified as Independent Testing Authorities (ITA's) for voting equipment standards.
Uniform Counting Standards. The Secretary of State has already promulgated administrative rules defining what constitutes a vote for the three types of voting systems approved and in use in Missouri: punch card voting systems (15 CSR 30-9.010), optical scan voting systems (15 CSR 30-9.020), and paper ballots (15 CSR 30-9.030). The Secretary of State will promulgate administrative rules defining what constitutes a vote for any additional voting systems approved for use in Missouri in the future.
Pursuant to election reform legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2002, provisional voting was used in the November, 2002 general election. Missouri 's current provisional voting law already complies with many HAVA provisional voting requirements. To comply with the additional requirements in HAVA, House Bill No. 511 modifies Missouri's provisional voting law by expanding the definition of those individuals who are eligible to cast a provisional ballot; establishing a free access system for individuals to discover whether their provisional votes were counted, and if not, why not; providing education and information to voters on provisional balloting and the free access system; and providing for separate provisional ballots for ballots cast pursuant to court order or other order extending the time established for closing the polls. Furthermore, the law authorizes the Secretary of State to promulgate administrative rules as necessary to implement provisional voting that complies with HAVA.
As set out in more detail below under Section 3 of this State Plan, Missouri will implement a comprehensive, uniform voter education and information program by utilizing pamphlets, posters, video segments, internet web sites, and newspaper and television spots. Vendors of voting systems will also be required to make training materials available.
Computerized Statewide Voter Registration Database
As noted above in the Introduction Section of this State Plan, the Secretary of State currently maintains a Centralized Voter Registration Database (CVRDB) that is not compliant with HAVA. Missouri 's plan is to upgrade the existing CVRDB or obtain a new system through the competitive bidding process to comply with HAVA. The objectives of the database include:
- Establish a single statewide voter registration system that meets all federal requirements.
- Address error handling by increasing the accuracy of voter registration records.
- Provide a system that allows for immediate electronic access to the system by local election officials.
- Ensure that the system is secure.
- Build interfaces for Department of Revenue (driver's license and social security number information for matching purposes under HAVA); Department of Health (death records); and the Department of Corrections (felony records). Consideration should also be given to coordinating a link between the local election authorities and voter registration agencies as defined under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) to facilitate voter registration.
- Standardize voter registration practices to ensure uniformity throughout the State
- Upgrade or replace CVRDB.
- Options for connection to the Counties.
The Secretary of State also plans to provide internet connectivity between the Secretary of State and local election authorities to comply with the interactive and immediate access requirements of HAVA. The State currently pays approximately $7,000 per month for dial up for the counties. DSL will run approximately $34 - 59/month per county, but the Secretary of State will still need to address a back-up system. Currently the Secretary of State's Technology Trust Fund pays for the internet access and the maintenance on the LEMS software. The maintenance costs are around half a million dollars per year.
Mail-In Voter Registration Requirements
Current Missouri Law already requires all voters, whether voting in person or by absentee ballot, to present identification before casting a ballot. Missouri has already modified the mail-in voter registration applications to comply with HAVA.