Help America Vote Act
North Dakota’s election system is regarded as one of the most unique and cooperative in the nation. It is a true partnership between the state’s chief election official (Secretary of State) and the state’s local election officials (county auditors).
In response to problems and controversies surrounding the federal election of 2000, far-reaching election reform legislation, known as the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. HAVA represents a bi-partisan approach to unprecedented election reform aimed at providing states the immediate resources necessary to significantly improve election administration.
North Dakota’s HAVA Partnership
Recognizing the important role that counties would play in the success of implementing HAVA in our state, the North Dakota Secretary of State used a unique approach, forging a partnership with local election officials through NDACo. North Dakota’s HAVA coordinator is an employee of NDACo, but the position is fully funded by the Secretary of State’s office. Working closely with Secretary of State’s office, the HAVA coordinator conducts training, technical assistance and other election-related responsibilities with county auditors throughout the year.
As a result of this cooperative approach, North Dakota was one of the first states to complete the necessary changes to comply with HAVA. Although North Dakota’s elections have historically been successful, the changes and resources provided through HAVA have afforded the state and its counties the opportunity to make uniform technological and procedural changes at once, rather than incrementally as has happened in the past.
Key elements of HAVA in North Dakota include:
Independent and verifiable voting opportunities for all eligible voting citizens
Removal of polling site accessibility barriers for persons with disabilities
Uniform voting processes for members of the military, merchant marine, or other overseas voters and their families
Implementation of statewide election official and voter education programs
Introduction of a state-based voter grievance process
Future Election Reforms
The North Dakota State HAVA Plan set the direction and approach for effective and innovative election improvements in our state. Because it impacts every citizen in our state, it was developed with input from county and local election officials as well as representation from the disabilities community, North Dakota's tribal populations, the aging community, the technology sector, voter interest groups, and everyday citizens.
As changes and further reforms may become necessary, North Dakota is well positioned to adapt and improve our system by continuing to work in a partnership between state and county election officials.
To view the voting education videos developed for North Dakotans by the HAVA program, click this banner:
Visit the HAVA Web Site
Various materials and information regarding HAVA can be found on the State HAVA web site.
Learn more about its implementation and its impacts to North Dakota on the HAVA web site.