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COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS - 1

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COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS - 1

    COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS

    Presented by William Francis Galvin

    Secretary of the Commonwealth

    STATE PLAN

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION…………………….………………………………………… 3

     The Help America Vote Act of 2002 ………………………………… 3

     An Overview of Elections in Massachusetts……………………….. 5

     Preparation of State Plan…………………………………………….. 5

    ELEMENTS OF THE STATE PLAN………………………………………… 7

     Element 1—How the State will use the requirements payment … 7

     Voting System Standards………………………………….… 7

     Provisional Voting and Voting Information Requirement.… 11

    Computerized Statewide Voter Registration List and

    Requirements and Requirements for Voters Who

    Register by Mail……………………………………………..… 14

    Use of Requirements Payment for Other Than Complying

    with Title III…………………………………………………..… 20

     Element 2How the State will distribute and monitor the

    distribution of the requirements payment…………………… 22

     Element 3How the State will provide for programs for voter

    education, election official education and training, and poll

    worker training………………………………………………….. 24

     Election Official Education and Training and Poll Worker

    Training…………………………………………………………. 24

     Voter Education and Outreach……………………………….. 25

    Element 4How the State will adopt voting system guidelines

    and processes, which are consistent with the requirements

    of section 301 of HAVA……………………………………….. 28

     Element 5—How the State will establish an ―Election Fund‖

    including information on fund management………………… 29

     Element 6—State’s proposed budget for activities under

    Part II of HAVA……………………………………………….. . 30

     Element 7—State’s maintenance of effort………………………….. 37

     Element 8How the State will adopt performance goals

    and measures…………………………………………………. 38

    Element 9Description of the State-based administrative

    complaint procedures……………………………………….. . 39

     Element 10How payments received under Title I will affect

    activities carried out under the State Plan………………….. 41

     Element 11How the State will conduct ongoing maintenance

    of the plan………………………………………………………. 42

     Element 12How the plan reflects changes from the previous

    fiscal year……………………………………………………….. 43

     Element 13—Description of the State Plan Steering Committee…. 44

    ATTACHMENTS

    Attachment ABiographies of State Steering Committee Members. 45 ENDNOTES……………………………………………………………………. 53

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    INTRODUCTION

    The Help America Vote Act of 2002

    The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was signed by President Bush in October 2002 in an effort to improve voting across the country and in response to the problems that arose in the 2000 presidential elections. (42 U.S.C. ? 15301 et

    seq.). This federal legislation makes changes in the election process and applies to all federal elections in the United States. The most significant areas impacted by the legislation include voting equipment standards, including accessibility, provisional voting, voter registration, and voting, including voter education.

    HAVA provides certain federal funding to meet the new requirements over the next three years. The availability of the money is, however, dependent upon federal appropriations and certain additional federal funding is dependent upon the appropriation of matching state funds. There are two types of funding that Massachusetts is eligible to receiveTitle I and Title II funding.

    The first type of funding, under Title I, has two componentsSection 101

    and Section 102 funding. The first component under Section 101 provided $325 1million in funding for complying with the requirements of Title III. The

    requirements under Title III include improving election administration, educating voters, training election officials and poll workers, developing the state plan for implementing HAVA, improving voting systems, and improving polling place accessibility. Massachusetts’ share of the Section 101 funding is $6,590,381.

    The funding available under Section 102 is to be used to replace lever machines and data-vote voting equipment as well as for acquiring accessible 2voting equipment. The amount that Massachusetts is eligible to receive is based on the number of precincts that used lever and data-vote machines at the 2000 elections. Although HAVA authorizes an appropriation of $4,000 per precinct to replace lever and data-vote equipment, given the amount actually appropriated, this amount was reduced to $3,192.22 per precinct. Massachusetts’ share of the Section 102 funding is $1,519,497.

     The second type of funding--Title II funding--is to be used for continued implementation of the requirements of the act including poll worker training, 3providing voter education and improving the administration of federal elections.

    This type of funding requires each state to provide matching funds, in the amount of 5 %, to those funds supplied by the federal government. Massachusetts could receive up to $69 million of the $3 billion available under Title II.

    In order to receive funds under this provision, Massachusetts is required to submit a plan setting forth how it intends to comply with the act and will need 4to contribute $3.45 million in matching state funds. The following is the

    Massachusetts state plan (hereinafter referred to as the ―Plan‖) submitted

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    pursuant to this requirement (Title II). The Plan was developed in an open manner and subject to public notice and comment by the State Steering Committee, which is comprised of state and local election officials as well as 5 other special interest groups.

    The state must submit this Plan to the Election Assistance Commission 6(EAC) and must submit similar plans in the future for each fiscal year to be eligible for a payment for that year. If the state intends to use the money for anything other than the federal requirements, the use must not be inconsistent with federal requirements. The submitted plan for each fiscal year must include the following provisions:

    ; How the requirements payment will be used;

    ; How the state will distribute and monitor the distribution of the

    payment to municipalities or ―other entities‖ within the state

    (including the criteria for their eligibility for the funding);

    ; How the state will provide voter education and poll worker training;

    ; How the state will adopt voting system guidelines which are

    consistent with federal requirements;

    ; How the state will establish the funds to accept the federal dollars;

    ; What the state’s budget is for activities;

    ; How the state will maintain their expenditure level so that it is not

    less than the expenditure level of the fiscal year ending prior to

    November 2000;

    ; How the state will measure performance to determine success for

    the state and for the local government in carrying out the plan such

    as timetables and outlining responsibilities;

    ; A description of the uniform, non-discriminatory state-based

    administrative procedure;

    ; If the state received the ―early out money‖ to replace voting

    equipment, information on how it was used and the impact on the

    plan;

    ; How the state will conduct ongoing management of the plan;

    ; If applicable, any changes from the previous fiscal year’s plan and

    a report on the success of the previous year’s plan;

    ; A description of the committee who helped develop the state plan.

    This plan must be completed by September 15, 2003, for public inspection and comment and thereafter published in the Federal Register no later than October 15, 2003.

     The remainder of the funding outlined in HAVA will be directed towards other programs such as accessibility improvements including increased polling place access for voters with disabilities, research to improve voting technologies 7and pilot programs to test new voting systems and voting technology.

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    AN OVERVIEW OF ELECTIONS IN MASSACHUSETTS

    In Massachusetts, the Secretary of the Commonwealth is the Chief Election Officer. As such, the Secretary’s duties include the administration of federal and state elections, receiving nomination papers, printing ballots and tabulating election returns for federal and state elections as well as certification of voting equipment.

    Federal and state elections are conducted at the municipal level. There are 351 municipalities within Massachusetts that each conducts elections. For towns, the local official responsible for conducting elections is the town clerk, and for cities, the city clerk or an election commissioner, as the responsible official, 8 generally conducts elections.

    Each municipality is responsible for designating polling places, appointing and training poll workers, conducting voter registration sessions, and maintaining 9voter lists as well as management of elections themselves.

    Elections in Massachusetts are conducted in accordance with applicable federal law, the Massachusetts Constitution, the Massachusetts General Laws and the Code of Massachusetts Regulations. There is also a significant volume of case law relative to the election process in Massachusetts.

    As of the November 2002 State Election, there were 3,972,622 registered 10voters. There were 2,220,301 ballots cast at the 2002 State Election.

    The Help America Vote Act provides Massachusetts with an opportunity to make significant improvements in the electoral process. The State Steering Committee will be responsible for developing the state plan that will be the foundation for Massachusetts’ application for federal funding.

    PREPARATION OF STATE PLAN

     The Secretary appointed a State Steering Committee to develop this Plan. The State Steering Committee was comprised of local election officials, representatives from the disability community, elected officials, and public interest groups. A listing of the Steering Committee members can be found at Attachment A. The Steering Committee held five (5) meetings.

    The Steering Committee determined certain priorities to be addressed in the plan:

    1. Purchase and implementation of new voting equipment in those

    municipalities that are currently using lever machines or datavote and

    reimbursements to those municipalities that have replaced lever machines

    and datavote systems since November of 2000.

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    2. Provide increased access to the elections process for people with

    disabilities through the use of specially designed Direct Recording

    Electronic (DRE) voting systems, improvements to facilities, training of 11 elections staff, and enhanced public outreach.

    3. Modify the Central Voter Registry, the statewide database of registered

    voters, to comply with new requirements of HAVA.

    4. Implement a comprehensive voter education program that informs voters

    about how to correct their ballots and how to request replacement ballots.

    5. Implement a toll-free line that allows voters to check the status of their

    provisional ballots and determine whether or not their ballot was counted.

    6. Train elections officials in Title III requirements of the Act.

    The Steering Committee formed three sub-committees: Voter

    Identification and Provisional Voting, Voting Equipment and Accessibility, and Training and Education. Each of the sub-committees held public hearings at various locations around the state seeking public comment.

    While HAVA provides increased responsibility for elections administration at the state level to achieve greater uniformity and consistency, municipal election officials are charged with the conduct of elections and are crucial to all aspects of the elections process. As Massachusetts continues to conform to HAVA requirements and standards, the Secretary will continue to work with the members of the Steering Committee, especially those local election officials, in the development of new procedures and technology to ensure compliance with HAVA.

    This Plan represents the Commonwealth’s initial response to the requirements of HAVA. This Plan will be revised as progress is made in compliance.

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    ELEMENTS OF THE STATE PLAN

    For each element required of the state plan, there is a summary of the HAVA requirements and then the Massachusetts response to those requirements.

ELEMENT 1:

    How the Commonwealth will use the requirements payment to

    meet the requirements of Title III and if applicable, under Section

    251(a)(2) to carry out other activities to improve the 12 administration of elections (Sec. 254, (a)(1).

     Within Title III, there are three sections: Section 301Voting system

    standards; Section 302Provisional balloting; and Section 303Statewide list of

    registered voters and requirements when registering by mail. Within each of those sections are various subsections. The information being provided for Element One will follow the structure of Title III.

    Voting System StandardsSection 301

    HAVA requires that each voting system used in a federal election on or after January 1, 2006, meet each of the following requirements:

    (1) Balloting errors:

    (a) Voter verification of ballot selections (and correction)

    The voting system must:

    (i) permit the voter to verify privately and independently the votes

    selected before casting a ballot;

    (ii) permit the voter privately and independently to change or

    correct a ballot before it is cast (including receiving a replacement

    ballot).

    (Note that the requirement that a voting system permit the voter to

    verify the votes selected before casting a ballot may not be defined in a

    manner that makes it impossible for a paper ballot voting system to

    meet the new requirements of HAVA.)

    (b) Voter notice on overvoting (and correction)

    The voting system must:

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    (i) notify the voter of an overvote (casting votes for more

     candidates than allowed);

    (ii) notify the voter of the effect of overvoting (i.e. the vote for that

    office will not be counted);

    (iii) provide the voter with the opportunity to correct the ballot, if

    he or she has overvoted.

(c) Paper-based voting systems compliance

    Paper-based voting systems (including absentee balloting systems) may meet the above requirements with:

    (i) voting-system specific voter education programs notifying the

    voter of the effect of overvoting;

    (ii) instructions on how to correct a ballot before it is cast

    (including instructions on obtaining a replacement ballot);

    (iii) system designs that preserve voter confidentiality.

(2) Voting system audit requirements:

The voting system must:

    (a) produce a record with an audit capacity (The paper record

    produced shall be available as an official record for purposes of a

    recount.);

    (b) produce a permanent paper record with a manual audit

     capacity;

    (c) allow the voter to correct any error before the permanent paper

    record is produced.

(3) Accessibility for individuals with disabilities:

The voting system must:

    (a) be accessible to voters with disabilities, including voters with

    visual impairment, in a manner that provides the same opportunity

    for access and participation, including privacy and independence,

    as for other voters.

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    (The above requirement is met by providing at least one DRE

    voting unit, or other voting system equipped for individuals with

    disabilities at each polling place.)

    (All voting systems purchased with Title II funding after January 1,

    2007, shall comply with these requirements.)

    (4) Alternative language accessibility:

    The voting system must:

    (a) meet all requirements of alternative language access of Section

    203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 USC 1973aa-1a).

    (5) Error Rates:

    The voting system must:

    (a) meet FEC guidelines (Section 3.2.1) for voting system error

    rates (errors attributable only to system errors, and not an act of the

    voter) in effect at the time of HAVA’s enactment (October 29,

    2002).

    (6) Definition of Vote:

    Each state shall adopt uniform and nondiscriminatory standards

    that define what constitutes a vote and what will be counted as a

    vote for each category of voting system used in the State.

PROPOSED ACTION FOR HAVA COMPLIANCE WITH VOTING SYSTEMS

    STANDARDS:

    To comply with HAVA, the Secretary intends, through the regulatory, legislative, voting system certification and decertification processes, or otherwise, to replace voting systems that do not comply with the new standards. As of November 2000, 434 precincts used lever voting machines and 42 precincts 13 used data-vote voting systems. No precincts used punchcard voting systems.As of November 2002, 392 precincts used lever machines and 11 precincts used data-vote voting systems. Pursuant to HAVA, the Secretary will seek replacement of these systems.

    As of November 2002, 1665 precincts used optical scanning systems

    1042 precincts used Accu-Vote, 176 precincts used Optech, and 447 precincts used Optech Eagle. Additionally, in November 2002, 90 precincts used paper ballots. HAVA does not mandate the discontinuation of such systems, but instead, certain additional steps will be required, including voter education.

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    However, those municipalities that continue to use either paper ballots or optical

    scanning voting systems will still be required to provide at least one accessible 14 unit per polling location by 2006.

    In an effort to retain the integrity of the voting process, increase the

    opportunity for all eligible citizens to participate in that process, and to comply

    with HAVA, the Commonwealth, under the direction of the Secretary of the

    Commonwealth, as Chief Elections Officer, will, in part:

    (a) support, promote and encourage the use of direct recording electronic

    (DRE/touchscreen) voting systems, at polling places in Massachusetts; (b) expeditiously certify new DRE voting systems that are compliant with state

    and federal laws;

    (c) through existing state law, which authorizes the Secretary to certify and

    decertify voting systems, develop voting system standards and system

    audit requirements as required in HAVA and institute an ongoing process

    to manage changes to these standards and ensure uniform application of

    the standards for each voting system including those requirements for 15―second chance voting‖;

    (d) develop voting system standards requiring, as part of certification process,

    that the system demonstrate the ability to support a representative set of

    possible future ballot procedure changes, including instant runoff voting,

    as feasible, with an upgrade cost that is substantially less than the cost of

    complete system replacement;

    (e) develop and distribute voter education materials as appropriate to meet

    the requirements of Section 301(a)(1)(B) of HAVA;

    (f) with the assistance of the disability community, ensure compliance with the

    accessibility requirements for individuals with disabilities, including

    ensuring that at least one DRE/touchscreen voting system is used in each

    Massachusetts polling place pursuant to Section 301(a)(3)(B) and, with

    respect to in-person voting, that the voting system itself be located in a

    polling place that is accessible to voters with disabilities. Compliance

    efforts shall include monitoring polling places to determine accessibility

    and education of elections officials, poll workers, and voters with respect

    to the rights of all voters, including voters with disabilities; (g) continue to ensure that all voting systems provide alternative language

    accessibility pursuant to the requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 161965;

    (h) regularly evaluate voting systems to assess error rates, reliability and

    accuracy factors, accessibility to voters with disabilities, language

    assistance needs and literacy needs, and ability to accommodate

    alternative voting systems; work with local elections officials to share

    information and make improvements;

    (i) develop, by regulation and/or by statute, a uniform and nondiscriminatory

    definition of what constitutes a vote and what will be counted for each

    voting system.

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