Election Assistance Commission: Duties and Responsibilities General Responsibilities (Title II, Subtitle A, Part 1 Sections 202,206, 207 & 209)
The Commission shall serve as a national clearinghouse and resource for the compilation of information and review of procedures with respect to the administration of Federal elections by:
Develop/Update Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines [Standards] (Title II, Subtitle A, Part 3 Section 221)
(Current FEC VSS is deemed to have been adopted by the Commission as the first set of voluntary guidelines).
Certification/Decertification and Testing of Voting Systems (Title II, Subtitle B Section 231)
The Commission shall provide for the testing, certification, decertification, and recertification of voting system hardware and software by accredited laboratories.
(The current NASED system for accreditation, testing etc. shall remain in effect until changed by the EAC).
Periodic Studies of Election Administration Issues (Title II, Subtitle C Section 241)
On a basis to be determined by the Commission, public studies shall be conducted on various election administration issues. The goal of the studies will be to promote methods of voting and election administration which are the most convenient, accessible and easy to use for all voters (UOCAVA, disabled, limited English); will yield the most accurate, secure, and expeditious system for voting and vote tabulation; will be nondiscriminatory; and will be efficient and cost effective.
Issues to be studied in this section are:
The Commission shall submit a report on each study conducted, with recommendations for administrative or legislative action, to the President, to the House Administration Committee, and to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.
Election Assistance Requirements Payments (Title II, Subtitle D Sections 251-258)
The Commission shall make a requirements payment each year in an amount expressed as a percentage equal to the quotient of the voting age population of the State as reported in the most recent decennial census and the total voting age population of the United States as reported in the most recent decennial census. The amount of requirements payments made to a State for a year may not be less than ½ of 1 % of the total amount appropriated for these payments in the case of the several States or the District of Columbia, or 1/10 of 1% in the case of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Requirements payments to a State shall be available to the State without fiscal year limitation. (No State is required to implement any of the voluntary voting system guidelines or any other voluntary guidance adopted by the Commission as a condition for receiving a requirements payment).
A State is eligible to receive a requirements payment for a fiscal year if the chief executive officer of the State, in consultation with the chief State election official has filed with the Commission a statement certifying that the State is in compliance with the requirements outlined in Section 253 (b). In the case of a State that requires State legislation to establish a State Election Fund, the Commission shall defer disbursement of the requirements payment to such State until such time as legislation establishing the fund is enacted. The Commission shall also have published in the Federal register each State Plan described in Section 254 of this subtitle.
The Commission shall make requirements payments to the States as soon as practical after the initial appointment of all members of the Commission, but in no event later than 6 months thereafter, and not less frequently than once each calendar year thereafter.
Grants for Research on Voting Technology Improvements (Title II, Subtitle D, Part 3, Section 271)
The Commission shall make grants to assist entities in carrying out research and development to improve the quality, reliability, accuracy, accessibility, affordability and security of voting equipment, election systems, and voting technology. The Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology will submit to the Commission on an annual basis, a list of suggestions for issues that may be the subject of research funded with grants awarded under this section.
Grants to Pilot Programs for Testing of Equipment and Technology (Title II, Subtitle D, Part 4, Section 281)
The Commission shall make grants to carry out pilot programs under which new technologies in voting systems and voting equipment are tested and implemented on a trial basis with the results of such tests being reported to Congress. The Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology will submit to the Commission on an annual basis, a list of suggestions for issues that may be the subject of pilot programs research funded with grants awarded under this section.
Grants to the National Student and Parent Mock Election (Title II, Subtitle D, Part 6, Section 295)
The Commission is authorized to award grants to the National Student and Parent Mock Election, a national, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to promote voter participation through voter education activities for students and their parents.
Studies of Specific Issues in Election Administration
Study/Report/Recommendations on Best Practices for Facilitating Military & Overseas Voting (Section 242)
In consultation with the Secretary of Defense, the Commission shall conduct a study on best practices for facilitating voting by absent uniformed personnel and overseas voters.
The Commission shall consider the following issues:
Not later than 18months after enactment of this Act, the Commission shall submit to the President and Congress a report on this study along with recommendations identifying best practices used in this study area.
Report on Human Factor Research (Section 243)
The Commission, in consultation with the Director of NIST, shall study and assess the areas of human factor research, including usability and human-computer/machine interaction which could be applied to voting products and system design to ensure usability and accuracy. This assessment should include:
Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall submit a report to Congress assessing these issues.
Study and Report on Voter Registration by Mail and the Use of Social Security Information (Section 244)
The study of voter registration by mail shall include the following specific issues:
Not later than 18 months after the date on which Sec. 303 (b) takes effect, the Commission shall submit a report to the President and Congress on this study with recommendations for administrative and legislative action deemed appropriate.
The Commission, in consultation with the Commissioner of Social Security, shall study the feasibility and advisability of using Social Security Numbers or other information compiled by the SSA to establish voter registration or other election law eligibility or identification requirements, including matching of relevant information specific to an individual voter, the impact of such use on national security issues, and whether adequate safeguards or waiver procedures exist to protect voter privacy.
Not later than 18 months after the date on which section 303 (a)(5) takes effect, the Commission shall report to Congress the results of this study.
Study and Report on Electronic Voting (Section 245)
The Commission shall conduct a study of issues and challenges, specifically to include the potential for fraud, presented by incorporating communications and internet technologies in the Federal, state, and local electoral process. The Commission may include the following in this study:
Not later than 20 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall transmit to the Committee on House Administration and the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate a report on the results of this study, including recommendations or model State laws. The Commission shall also post this report on its web site.
Study and Report on Free Absentee Ballot Postage (Section 246)
In consultation with the Standards Board and Board of Advisors, the Commission shall conduct a study on the feasibility and advisability of establishing a program under which the U.S. Postal Service shall waive or otherwise reduce the amount of postage applicable with respect to absentee ballots submitted by voters in general elections for Federal office.
(This would not apply to postage costs for sending absentee ballots to the voters, or for balloting materials covered under UOCAVA)
Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall submit to Congress a report to include:
Help America Vote College Program (Title V, Sections 501-503)
Not later than 1 year after the appointment of its members, the Commission shall develop the "Help America Vote College Program" in order to:
In consultation with the chief election official in each State, the Commission shall develop materials, sponsor seminars and workshops, target advertising to students, make grants, and take other actions appropriate to meet the purposes of this Program. The Commission shall also insure that funds provided via grants are spent for projects and activities carried out in a nonpartisan manner, shall encourage institutions of higher education to participate in the Program, and shall provide all materials and assistance without charge to participating institutions.
Audit Functions (Title IX, Section 902 (b))
This section specifies that all recipients of grants or other payments under this Act are subject to audits and examinations as outlined, the Election Assistance Commission has several specific responsibilities.
Section 902 (b)(4) states that the Election Assistance Commission shall be deemed to be the grant making office for any grant or payment made under this Act by the General Services Administration (GSA).
Section 902 (b)(5) Requires the Election Assistance Commission to perform audits on a regular basis (as determined by the EAC) in the case of grants made pursuant to the Section 251 requirements payments.
Section 902 (b)(6) permits the Election Assistance Commission to conduct special audits or examinations of any recipient of a grant or payment made under this Act upon a vote of the EAC.
Office of Election Administration
Federal Election Commission