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Key Provisions of the Help America Vote Act

Fact sheet that outlines the Help America Vote Act of 2000. In response to the problems during the presidential elections of 2000, Congress passed the HAVA mandating significant changes in virtually every aspect of election administration.

  • Kele Williams
Published: June 20, 2004

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is imple­men­ted prop­erly in the 50 states, many provi­sions of the law hold great prom­ise to improve the nation’s outdated voting proced­ures.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.

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