Fact sheet that outlines key provisions and principles in place to protect voters’ rights of the Help America Vote Act of 2000.
In response to the problems during the presidential elections of 2000, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (“HAVA”) mandating significant changes in virtually every aspect of election administration. If HAVA is implemented properly in the 50 states, many provisions of the law hold great promise to improve the nation’s outdated voting procedures. HAVA’s new identification requirements, however, may severely threaten voters’ rights, particularly if implemented improperly. Ensuring that HAVA successfully promotes voting rights is complicated by the fact that the federal government left implementation almost entirely in the hands of the states. States have great latitude in how they meet HAVA’s minimum requirements, and they have the authority to institute idiosyncratic requirements that pose new barriers to voting. Advocates, concerned citizens, policy makers and election officials should maximize the opportunity offered by HAVA to improve the electoral process, while vigorously safeguarding voting rights.