Secretary Land Announces Help America Vote Act Advisory Committee
March 20, 2003
Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land today announced the formation of an advisory
committee responsible for assisting with the "state plan" which Michigan is
required to file under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). Michigan must
file a state plan in order to qualify for the federal funds available to assist
states in meeting the requirements of the act.
The Help America Vote Act is a new federal law that seeks to strengthen the
states' election processes by improving access at the polls, replacing old
voting equipment and making it easier for citizens with disabilities and
overseas military personnel to vote.
Secretary Land noted that the members of the State Plan Advisory Committee were
carefully selected to ensure representation by all who maintain a stake in
Michigan's elections process, including the public, the political party
organizations, Michigan's election administrators, disability groups, business
and labor. Care was also taken to ensure the state's diverse geographical
regions, such as the Upper Peninsula, were represented.
"Michigan has always taken a pro-active stance on election issues, and as a
result, is known as a national leader in elections administration," Secretary
Land said. "We are already ahead of the curve because we currently have many
programs that satisfy HAVA requirements, such as the QVF and our voter
"To successfully prepare a state plan that meets Michigan's needs and fulfills
the HAVA requirements, we must continue to work together and think
At the federal level, HAVA creates an Election Assistance Commission - an
independent agency responsible for advising election authorities and
distributing federal "requirements payments" to the states once the state plan
has been filed. The state plan must be developed with the input of an advisory
committee appointed by the chief elections official and must include how the
state will: meet technology and election administration requirements; budget and
monitor the funds it receives; adopt voting system guidelines consistent with
the new federal requirements; educate voters and poll workers; adopt performance
measures; and meet other specified requirements and criteria.
In addition to today's meeting, five more Advisory Committee meetings have been
scheduled to date. It is anticipated the state plan will be submitted no later
than July 1, 2003.
"It is important that Michigan's state plan be drawn up after full input is
received from all involved," Secretary Land said. "Public testimony will be
encouraged and welcomed at the committee meetings." Secretary Land emphasized
the importance of the Advisory Committee's work as HAVA will result in
significant election-related changes in Michigan. "Everyone must work together
to ensure the new federal mandates are implemented in ways that make the most
sense for the state."
President Bush signed HAVA into law Oct. 29, 2002. The federal legislation
creates many new mandates for state and local governments and provides a total
of $3.9 billion in possible federal funding for all states. To date, Congress
has only appropriated $1.5 billion in funding. Michigan hopes to receive between
$40 million and $50 million in grant funds under the new federal law.
Approximately $6.8 million of the grant funds are earmarked for the replacement
of outdated voting equipment.
Information about the HAVA can be found on the web sites maintained by the
Department of State at www.michigan.gov/hava, and the Federal Election
Commission at www.fec.gov.
> List of
Advisory Committee members
> Back to "News & Headlines"