June 1, 2009
Terri McCoy, 444-2807
Feds Approve McCulloch’s Request for Audit of HAVA Funds
(Helena) – This fall, the Montana Secretary of State’s Office will undergo its first federal audit of the more than $17 million in federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds that the state has received since 2003.
Secretary of State Linda McCulloch requested the audit to ensure that Montana’s share of these federal taxpayer dollars has been spent appropriately, and to provide guidance on how Montana can best utilize the remaining HAVA funds.
“Montana has received millions in HAVA money to improve our elections system, and every dollar should be spent as intended by the law,” McCulloch said. “I have an experienced and capable elections staff, and we all agree that a federal audit is not only a good idea, but it’s long overdue.”
Since 2003, the Secretary of State’s Office has received more than $17.17 million in HAVA funds. Expenditures through the 2008 federal fiscal year (which ended September 30, 2008) total about $14.5 million – leaving a remaining unspent balance of roughly $2.6 million. Unless additional HAVA money is authorized by Congress, Montana is set to exhaust its share of the remaining HAVA funds by 2012.
The Help America Vote Act was signed into law in 2002. The Act provides states the funds to improve their elections systems and to make voting more accessible to a greater number of citizens. HAVA monies in Montana have helped fund a statewide voter registration system, better polling place accessibility and advanced voting technologies at polling places.
According to the Inspector General, the objectives of the audit will be to determine whether Montana (1) expended HAVA payments in accordance with the Act and related administrative requirements and (2) complied with the HAVA requirements for replacing elections equipment, establishing an election fund and maintaining state expenditures at a specified level.