America Vote Act
Legislative Background of HAVA
In the two years following the contentious general election of
2000, the US Congress worked on a bill to improve the federal elections process.
On October 29, 2002, calling it "a really good piece of legislation,"
President George W. Bush signed into law the Help America Vote Act of 2002.The Act provides federal money and guidance to improve the accuracy and fairness
of voting in America. And while the Act intends to maintain self-governance at
the local level, HAVA also mandates significant requirements. The Act sets
specific deadlines over a four year period for states to comply. South Dakota
has fulfilled all of HAVA's requirements.
HAVA's Key Requirements:
HAVA requires each state to describe its use of Title II
Section 251 payments from the federal government by writing a "state plan." A
17 member HAVA task force developed South Dakota's first state plan in the
spring of 2003. The state plan was updated in December of 2004 as HAVA projects
matured. Federal elections in 2006 demonstrated the completion of all phases of
the state plan.
In March 2007, the Secretary of State certified to the EAC
that South Dakota had fulfilled all Title III requirements. The State also
notified the EAC that it intended to expand its use of Title II Section 251
funds for other improvements to the administration of federal elections as
allowed by HAVA �251(b)(2). The EAC
notified the State that it must also revise its state plan to describe such
use. The state plan was, therefore, revised in 2007 in a third version.
South Dakota's HAVA state plan was revised in a fourth
version in June 2008, which described how the State intended to use the $575,000
payment appropriated to the State by the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2008.
The South Dakota state plan is hereby revised in a fifth
version to meet the requirements of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment
Act (MOVE). MOVE Section 588(b)(1)(A) requires states to amend their state
plans to include,"How the State will comply with the provisions and
requirements of the amendments made by the Military and Overseas Voter
Empowerment Act." This updated state plan includes additional information
regarding the State's utilization of HAVA funds for additional personnel working
on HAVA related projects and for meeting the requirements of HAVA Section
301(a)(4). The state plan is also revised to reflect how the State intends to
use the $350,000 payment appropriated for the State of South Dakota in the
Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2010.
For this fifth version of South Dakota's state plan a HAVA
task force has been re-established. The task force members consists of the
Board of Elections members, election officials from South Dakota's two most
populous counties, advocates for persons with disabilities, the Secretary of
State, and the State Election Supervisor.
This proposed plan will be available for inspection and
comment by the public for at least 30 days. The plan will be posted at
and be available by request. The State will also notify the public of the
opportunity to comment on the proposed plan at an open hearing scheduled for May
Click here to view the 2010 State Plan (PDF)
Click here to view the
2008 State Plan approved by the Board of Elections (PDF)
Click here to view the 2007 State Plan (PDF)
here to view the 2004 State Plan (PDF)
Provisional Ballots: South Dakota instituted provisional
ballots in 2003. A provisional ballot is a ballot which may be voted on by a
person who appears at a polling place and swears that he or she is registered to
vote in that precinct but whose name does not appear on the voter registration
list for that precinct. The purpose of a provisional ballot is to protect a
person�s right to vote when his or her name has wrongly been omitted from the
voter registration list. The provisional ballot is sealed in a special envelope
which is not opened on election night. The provisional ballot is only counted if
documentation can be located after election day proving that the person was
properly registered to vote in that precinct. In the 2004 general election, 533
provisional ballots were collected; 66 of those ballots were counted. In the
2006 general election, 341 provisional ballots were collected; 90 of those
ballots were counted.
Punch cards: HAVA provides funding to replace all punch
card voting in South Dakota. 10 South Dakota counties used punch card voting in
the 2000 general election. These counties now use optical scan ballots.
Voter Registration Cards: HAVA requires mail-in voter
registration forms to contain two specific questions regarding citizenship and
age. South Dakota began using new registration forms in 2003.
Voter Instructions: HAVA encourages providing instruction
to voters on how to properly complete their ballots and what to do when problems
arise in the voting process. South Dakota now requires additional notices in
newspapers prior to election day, posters in each polling place, and
instructions on each ballot. Instructions to not vote for more candidates than
are allowed reduced the over-vote rate by two-thirds from 2000 to 2004.
Voter Registration Verification: HAVA requires that each
new voter registration be verified. South Dakota established a computer network
to do this verification beginning in January 2004. Each voter registration is
compared to felon records, death records, and drivers license or social security
records to ensure that each registrant is eligible to vote in South Dakota. This
verification process has prevented nearly 100 convicted felons from illegally
registering to vote.
Polling Place Access: HAVA provides funds for South
Dakota counties to make physical improvements that advance independent
accessibility into and at polling places for voters with various disabilities.
Improvements include parking spaces, signs, curb changes, sidewalks, ramps,
railings, doorways, platform lifts, and voting booths.
AutoMARK ballot assistant: HAVA requires that each
polling place for any federal election provide a voting device equipped to allow
voters with various disabilities the means to vote independently and privately.
South Dakota has chosen the
AutoMARK from Election Systems and Software.
The voter in South Dakota receives a paper optical scan ballot.
The voter has the option to mark the ballot by hand or by use of the AutoMARK
ballot assistant. The AutoMARK keeps no record of votes. It is a paper-based
electronic ballot marker-an "electronic pen." Most voters find it to be
intuitive and user-friendly.
The AutoMARK has special features to assist voters who are
blind, have poor eyesight, can't hold a pen, or have other difficulties in
voting a paper ballot. All ballots-whether voted by pen or by AutoMARK-go into
the same ballot box.
When a ballot is inserted into the AutoMARK, an electronic
version appears on the screen. The pictures of the ballot contests can be
enlarged for easier reading, shown in reverse contrast, or turned off for
privacy if a voter chooses to access the ballot by attached headphones and
keypad. The audio description of the ballot can be used in place of or in
conjunction with the visual version on the screen. The voter makes selections
through the touch screen or keypad. (A voter may also bring an A/B switch to
access the AutoMARK.)
The AutoMARK warns of undervotes and will not allow overvotes.
The voter may make changes before the ballot is marked. The voter is provided a
summary of selections. When the voter selects Mark Ballot, the appropriate ovals
of the optical scan paper ballot are marked and the ballot is ejected. If a
marked ballot is inserted into the AutoMARK, the touch screen will display and
the headphones will describe the selections marked on that ballot. The voter
takes the official paper ballot to the precinct ballot box for casting. A ballot
privacy sleeve is provided to all voters.
For federal elections the AutoMARKs in the following two counties also include an audio version of the ballot in Lakota: Shannon and Todd.