Section 6: Budget - California's Plan for Voting in the 21st Century



The state's proposed budget for activities under this Part (Part 1 of Subtitle D of Title II), based on the state's best estimates of the costs of such activities and the amount of funds to be made available, including specific information on:

Budgetary issues cannot be resolved until the amount of funds available is determined, the voluntary guidelines (Subtitle B of Title III, page 125 et seq.) promulgated by the Commission can be considered, and the costs of actual implementation are ascertained. When the amount of funds is determined, the guidelines are promulgated, and the implementation costs can be ascertained, the detailed budget will be configured by the Secretary of State, in conjunction with local elections, other public officials and interested individuals and organizations. Certain dynamics and parameters for the budget, however, are set forth below.

Proposed Budget
The Secretary of State, as the Chief Elections Officer of California as described in Section 253(e), will adopt policies and procedures to ensure that all funds received, including interest earned on those funds, with the exception of funds identified in Sections 251(b)(2)(A) and (B) from Title II allocations, will be used to accomplish the requirements of Title III.

The Secretary of State will identify its "maintenance of effort" level for each of the requirements in Title III and will not use HAVA funds to supplant activities already funded.

The State has authorized $200 million in general obligation bonds to finance the modernizing of voting equipment.

The counties can use these funds for the purchase and installation of accessible voting equipment. These funds satisfy the matching fund requirement of Section 253(b)(5).

No funds received pursuant to Title II will be used for purposes of litigation or payment of judgment. The Secretary of State, as the Chief Elections Officer of California as defined in Section 253(e), will administer the Election Fund described in Section 254(b) of the Act.

Specific Budget Components Relative To Title III
The Secretary of State, in administering the Election Fund, will provide funding for the following specific requirements of Title III:

Voting Systems Standards
The Secretary of State will allocate funds to meet the requirements of Section 301. This may include allocation of funds to local administrators, according to allocation criteria developed by the Secretary of State.

The level of funds required to meet these requirements depends on several variables that must be determined by research and analysis.

As one example, there is significant potential variability in cost of voting systems. This variability depends on the technology selected (DRE versus optical scan, precinct-based versus centralized systems, etc.) and this selection is at the option of local election officials. In addition, the cost depends on the functional requirements of those systems, and local decisions as to whether to purchase one DRE per polling place or to convert all voting equipment to DREs. As a third example, the number of polling places required to be equipped with new voting equipment won't be known with precision until further communication with local elections officials.

If federal standards or state standards are adopted that require retrofitting of existing equipment, funds may also be necessary for this purpose.

The Secretary of State shall establish a procedure to determine which local election jurisdictions require or request funds to meet the requirement of Section 301(a)(3) for at least one accessible voting system in each polling place. There are approximately 25,000 precincts in the State of California.

The Secretary of State shall ensure that all voting equipment meets the provisions of Section 301, including, but not necessarily limited to: (1) permitting voters to verify and correct their ballots prior to casting the ballot; (2) providing notice of the fact and effect of overvotes and permitting voters an opportunity to correct an overvote before the ballot is cast; (3) producing a permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity; (4) providing a uniform definition of a vote cast on any voting systems; (5) ensuring accessibility to persons with disabilities; (6) ensuring accessibility for language minorities as required by the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended; and (7) meeting the "error rate" guidelines adopted by the Federal Election Commission.

Preliminarily, the cost of this component is estimated to be between $42.6 million and $70 million but actual costs may be less than or more than these parameters. In any case, this component shall be the priority in allocating funds.

Provisional Voting
California law specifies procedures for provisional voting that generally comply with the requirements of Section 302. However, funds will be disbursed by the Secretary of State from the Election Fund to ensure that all notices required by HAVA are developed and included at each polling place. In addition, the Secretary of State will, in cooperation with local elections officials, define a "free access" system (or systems) to permit voters to determine if their provisional ballots were counted and if not, why not. Alternatively, the state may take a proactive approach and advise provisional voters of the status of their ballots and, if they were not counted, why not. The funds necessary for this "free access" system or a proactive program will depend on the design of the system (Internet, telephone, etc.), who operates and manages the system (one state system, or 58 local systems), and the volume of inquiries made by voters for the required information or the volume of notices provided to provisional voters.

Preliminarily, the cost of this component is estimated to be between $1 million and $3 million but actual costs may be less or more than these parameters, with continuing ongoing costs.

Voting Information
HAVA requires that certain information be provided to voters at the polling place. This information shall include a sample ballot, the date and hours of voting, how to vote, how to vote a provisional ballot, procedures for first-time registrants required to provide identification in order to vote, a listing of the rights of voters, and general information on other laws and protections for voters.

The Secretary of State will ensure that the necessary materials are developed, distributed, and provided at all polling places.

Preliminarily, the cost of this component is estimated to be between $100,000 and $300,000 but actual costs may be less or more than these parameters.

Statewide Database
The Secretary of State shall develop a single, uniform, official, centralized, and interactive database of registered voters that is defined, maintained, and administered at the state level. The database shall be the official list of voters for federal elections.

The development of this system will likely require, to be consistent with state law, the initiation of a feasibility study and analysis to determine the functional requirements of the statewide database. This analysis will determine the amount of funds to be allocated to this requirement.

This analysis will include a determination of the costs and issues related to providing the "immediate electronic access" to elections officials required by Section 303(a)(1)(A)(v).

The analysis will also provide information on potential costs for other state agencies to meet the requirement of HAVA. This will include, but not be limited to: (1) establishing a connection with the Department of Motor Vehicles to facilitate the verification of driver's license number and social security number; (2) establishing a connection with the Department of Corrections to determine felony status; and (3) establishing a connection with the Department of Health to obtain information regarding persons who have deceased.

In addition, once the system is defined, the Secretary of State will determine the ongoing maintenance, support, security requirements, and the costs associated with these requirements, to comply with appropriate sections of HAVA, including Sections 303(a)(1)(A), 303(a)(1)(A)(vii), and 303(a)(3).

Preliminarily, the cost of the statewide database is estimated to be between $8 million and $40 million but actual costs may be less or more than these parameters, with substantial ongoing costs.

Requirements for Voters Who Register by Mail
The Secretary of State will develop procedures for the uniform implementation of the requirements of Section 303(b).

Preliminarily, the cost of this component is estimated to be between $100,000 and $300,000 but actual costs may be less or more than these parameters.

Voter Education
Section 254(a) requires that the State Plan include a description of how Title II funds will be used to educate voters to assist in meeting the requirements of Title III. The changes and new procedures required by HAVA represent the most significant change in voting in a lifetime, and communicating these changes to voters will be critical to the success of the reforms in the election process.

The Secretary of State will allocate substantial funds to the education of voters concerning voter registration, voting, new voting equipment, voter rights, and other appropriate subjects.

These funds will provide for educational efforts in the minority language and disability communities. The Secretary of State will make a special effort to inform and educate young voters as they begin their careers as voters. In addition to funds expended by the Secretary of State, funds may be allocated to elections officials, individuals, organizations, and others for educational purposes. Funding allocation will be in accordance with criteria established by the Secretary of State.

Outreach methods may include: printed materials, radio and television announcements, mailings, newsletters, door-to-door canvassing, organizing community groups and utilizing their networks to extend into the community, or other means to effectively reach the target audience.

Preliminarily, the cost of this component is estimated to be between $15 million and $45 million but actual costs may be less or more than these parameters.

Elections Official Education
Section 254(a) requires that the State Plan include a description of how Title II funds will be used to educate elections officials. Elections officials are the administrators of the HAVA reforms and their expertise and ongoing education are critical to successful elections.

The Secretary of State will develop a plan for an Election Academy to train prospective elections officials and to provide ongoing training of current officials. The funding required for this Election Academy will depend on the curriculum and program design.

Preliminarily, the cost of this component is estimated to be between $15 million and $45 million but actual costs may be less or more than these parameters, with continued ongoing costs.

Poll Worker Education
Section 254(a) requires that the State Plan include a description of how Title II funds will be used to educate poll workers. Poll workers are on the front line of elections.

The Secretary of State will expend and allocate funds to assist local elections officials in programs to train poll workers. These programs will include, among other topics, instruction on the proper operation of voting equipment, applicable federal and state laws, the specific needs of minority language and disabled voters, voting provisionally in accordance with the HAVA, procedures for voters who register for the first time by mail, and the rights of voters.

Preliminarily, the cost of this component is estimated to be between $15 million and $45 million but actual costs may be less or more than these parameters, with continued ongoing costs.

The Portion of the Requirements Payment That Will Be Used To Carry Out Other Activities
Complaint Procedure
The Secretary of State has established a complaint procedure that meets the requirements of Section 402. The funds necessary for administering this procedure will depend on the type and the number of complaints received and processed. Funding for administering the procedure is likely to come from the requirements payment.

Preliminarily, the cost of this component is estimated to be between $100,000 and $300,000 but actual costs may be less or more than these parameters, with continued ongoing costs.

Voting Rights Of Military And Overseas Citizens
Title VII, Section 702, pages 145-146
HAVA amends Section 102 of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1) to add a requirement that each State designate a single office which shall be responsible for providing information regarding voter registration procedures and absentee ballot procedures to be used by absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters with respect to Federal elections. Reports are required after regularly-scheduled general elections for Federal office

Preliminarily, the cost of this component is estimated to be between $100,000 and $300,000 but actual costs may be less than or more than these parameters.

Summary of Costs and Portions Used to Carry Out Activities
Based on an estimated requirements payment for California of $97.1 million for FY 2003,22 the best estimate of the distribution is shown on the chart below.*

state plan section 6 chart

*Note that continued ongoing costs are not included and that the costs and portions indicated are subject to change based on the variables indicated earlier. Such anticipated changes, unknown at this time, are deemed to be included in this Plan as if set forth in detail. Note, also, that the "Portion of Payment" indicated above is based on the minimum "Cost Estimate" which may not be the true cost as ultimately determined.


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