October 8, 2010
CONTACT: Terri McCoy (406) 465-2564
Feds Conclude McCulloch’s Requested Audit of Montana HAVA Funds;
McCulloch Says Findings Ensure Taxpayer Dollars Are Spent As Intended by Law
HELENA – The United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has released its audit findings of the Montana Secretary of State Office’s management of more than $17 million in Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds.
Secretary of State Linda McCulloch requested the audit in 2009 to ensure that Montana’s share of the federal taxpayer dollars were spent appropriately for the period between June 5, 2003 through September 30, 2009. Additionally, the audit provides guidance as to how Montana can best utilize the state’s remaining HAVA funds.
The EAC Inspector General concluded that the Montana Secretary of State’s Office “accounted for and expended HAVA funds in accordance with the requirements” of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. Recommendations for changes were highlighted as needing “management attention” to correct administrative flaws that took place before McCulloch took office in 2009.
“The HAVA audit shows that Montanans have yet another reason to be confident in the state’s elections system,” Secretary McCulloch said. “This report ensures that Montana has been spending its share of federal HAVA money as intend by law. Our office agrees with the EAC’s overall findings, and we have already begun to implement the organization and management recommendations outlined in the audit.”
The full report is available: http://www.eac.gov/assets/1/AssetManager/Montana%20report%20-%20accessible.pdf
Since 2003, the Secretary of State’s Office has received $18.02 million in HAVA funds. The federal fund has earned an additional $991,635 in interest. Expenditures through federal fiscal year 2010 (which ended September 30, 2010) total $16.43 million – leaving a remaining unspent balance of roughly $2.6 million. Unless additional HAVA money is authorized by Congress, Montana could exhaust the remaining HAVA funds as early as 2012.
The Federal Help America Vote Act is a comprehensive election reform that was signed into law in 2002. The Act created minimum uniform election administration standards and provides states the funds to both improve their elections systems and make voting more accessible to a greater number of citizens. The majority of Montana’s remaining HAVA funds will be use to pay the annual costs associated with maintaining the federally required statewide voter file.