The Help America Vote Act of 2002: A Statutory Primer
June 9, 2005Hans A. von Spakovsky
The Help America Vote Act of 2002 ("HAVA") was signed into law by President Bush on October 29, 2002. HAVA was the end result of two years of studies and reports by numerous task forces that were formed after the 2000 presidential election to correct perceived problems with the election administration process in the United States, a process administered through a very decentralized system run almost entirely by the country's more than 3,000 county governments. HAVA's provisions were the result of compromises and negotiations on issues that were very controversial and that threatened to kill the bill on more than one occasion as it worked its way through Congress. As a result, while some of its provisions are clear, many others are not and seem to have been left deliberately ambiguous or vague because the parties involved in the negotiations could not agree on their exact meaning.