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MAT Staff July 8, 2020

Help America Vote Act CARES Act Grants

What is the Help America Vote Act CARES Act Grant?

When passed, the CARES Act included $400 million in new Help America Vote Act (HAVA) emergency funds. These HAVA funds are distributed to the states by the Elections Administration Commission (EAC) after a secretary of state has applied for these funds. 

Two primary qualifications must be met for a State to utilize these funds. First, distributions made to states include a 20% matching requirement by a State receiving the funds, which means that a State, receiving these funds must also spend 20% of the HAVA money used to secure the HAVA Grant. Second, HAVA requires ‘projects’ to exist for at least two years to receive the funds. However, the CARES act requires all money to be used or planned to be used by the end of 2020. To solve this potential contradiction, the extra money from HAVA is only used for the 2020 elections, and the subsequent care of materials, such as ballots.

How does a Town receive this Grant?

The EAC provides the money to the states through their secretary of state’s office, so long as they apply for them. For Minnesota specifically, the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office provides the money to Minnesota municipalities through the counties. The counties and jurisdictions within each county must come to a “fair, equitable, and mutually agreeable” agreement. If not able to agree, the Secretary of State’s office will provide the money using their formula.

If the town has any questions on how to acquire the money for the upcoming elections, it would be best to first work with the county, and then contact the Secretary of State’s office if the county is unable to provide the answers.

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