< Back to S. 3212 (110th Congress, 2007–2009)

Text of the Bipartisan Electronic Voting Reform Act of 2008

This bill was introduced on June 26, 2008, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jun 26, 2008 (Introduced).

Source: GPO

II

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3212

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 26, 2008

(for herself and Mr. Bennett) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration

A BILL

To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to provide for auditable, independent verification of ballots, to ensure the security of voting systems, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title; table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Bipartisan Electronic Voting Reform Act of 2008.

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents of this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Independent verification of ballots.

Sec. 3. Audits.

Sec. 4. Election security.

Sec. 5. Testing and certification.

Sec. 6. Research and development.

Sec. 7. Reauthorization of requirements payments.

Sec. 8. Technical guidelines development committee.

Sec. 9. Prohibiting refusal to accept voter registration and absentee ballot applications and federal write-in absentee ballots for failure to meet nonessential requirements.

Sec. 10. Ballot layout design.

2.

Independent verification of ballots

(a)

In general

Clause (i) of section 301(a)(1)(A) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15481(a)(1)(A)(i)) is amended by inserting and, in the case of any voting system other than a voting system which uses paper ballots that are personally marked by the voter, in the manner provided in paragraph (7), after (in a private and independent manner.

(b)

Method of verification for certain voting systems

Section 301(a) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15481(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(7)

Method of independent verification

In order to meet the requirements of paragraph (1)(A)(i) with respect to any voting system to which this paragraph applies:

(A)

In general

The voting system shall provide for verification of the votes selected by the voter by a means that—

(i)

is independent of the device on which the vote is cast; and

(ii)

permits verification through the use of—

(I)

a paper record;

(II)

an electronic record;

(III)

an audio record;

(IV)

a video record;

(V)

a pictorial record; or

(VI)

another independently produced record.

(B)

Audit capacity

The final record used for independent verification under subparagraph (A) for each voter shall be auditable.

(C)

Accessibility for individuals with disabilities and language minorities

Any method of independent verification under subparagraph (A) shall—

(i)

be accessible for individuals with disabilities, including nonvisual accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, in a manner that provides the same opportunity for access and participation (including privacy and independence) as for other voters; and

(ii)

provide alternative language accessibility pursuant to the requirements of section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973aa–1a).

(D)

Voting systems to which this paragraph applies

The requirements of this paragraph apply to any voting system other than—

(i)

a voting system which uses paper ballots that are personally marked by the voter; and

(ii)

a voting system purchased before January 1, 2009, in order to meet the requirements of paragraph (3)(B).

.

(c)

Effective date

Subsection (d) of section 301 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15481(d)) is amended—

(1)

by striking Each State and inserting the following:

(1)

In general

Except as provided in paragraph (2), each State

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(2)

Independent verification provisions

(A)

In general

Each State and jurisdiction shall be required to comply with the requirements of paragraph (7) of subsection (a) on and after January 1, 2012.

(B)

Waiver

In the case of a State or jurisdiction which is granted a waiver by the Election Assistance Commission pursuant to this subparagraph, subparagraph (A) shall be applied by substituting 2014 for 2012.

.

3.

Audits

(a)

Purpose

The purposes of this section are—

(1)

to ensure that each certificate of election awarded under State law is justified by the vote totals;

(2)

to ensure that, even in elections where the results are not close, individual votes are counted correctly; and

(3)

to provide information to election officials for the improvement of election processes and technologies.

(b)

Mandatory audits

(1)

In general

Subtitle A of title III of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15481 et seq.) is amended by redesignating sections 304 and 305 as sections 305 and 306, respectively, and by inserting after section 303 the following new section:

304.

Election audits

(a)

Audits

(1)

In general

With respect to each election for Federal office, each State shall conduct an audit.

(2)

Public participation

Each audit under this section shall be conducted in a public and transparent manner.

(3)

Audit reports

(A)

State submission of report

Each State shall submit to the Commission a report, in such form as provided by the Commission, on the results of the audit conducted under this section.

(B)

Publication

The Commission shall publish each report submitted under subparagraph (A) upon receipt.

(b)

Effective date

Each State shall be required to comply with the requirements of this section on and after the date such State is required to comply with the requirements under section 301(a)(7).

.

(2)

Availability of enforcement under Help America Vote Act of 2002

Section 401 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15511) is amended by striking and 303 and inserting 303, and 304.

(3)

Clerical amendment

The table of contents of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 is amended by striking the items relating to sections 304 and 305 and inserting the following:

Sec. 304. Election audits.

Sec. 305. Minimum requirements.

Sec. 306. Methods of implementation left to discretion of State.

.

(c)

Requirements for State plans

Section 254(a) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15404(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(14)

A description of the audit procedures that will be used by the State for the purpose of conducting audits under section 304(a).

.

(d)

Model audit guidelines

(1)

In general

Subtitle A of title II of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15321 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new part:

4

Model audit guidelines.

223.

Audit guidelines development task force

(a)

Establishment

The Commission shall establish an Audit Guidelines Development Task Force (hereafter in this part referred to as the Task Force).

(b)

Membership

(1)

In general

The Task Force shall be composed of individuals who are experts in such fields as election audits, physical security of ballots, recounts, computer technology, and election management. The composition of the Task Force shall (to the extent possible) reflect the demographic composition of the voting age population of the United States.

(2)

Consultation

The Commission shall consult with the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technologies on—

(A)

the composition of the Task Force; and

(B)

the appointment of members to the Task Force.

(c)

Duties

(1)

In general

The Task Force shall assist the Commission in developing model audit guidelines for administrative and procedural practices to ensure efficient, transparent, and accurate audits of Federal elections. Such guidelines shall include best practices with respect to auditing Federal elections using the following independently verified records under section 301(a)(7):

(A)

Paper records.

(B)

Electronic records.

(C)

Audio records.

(D)

Video records.

(E)

Pictorial records.

(F)

Other independently produced records.

(2)

Deadline for initial set of recommendations

The Task Force shall provide its first set of recommendations under this section to the Executive Director of the Commission not later than 1 year after the Task Force is established.

(d)

Considerations

In developing the model audit guidelines under subsection (c), the Task Force shall consider—

(1)

the time, place, and manner for conducting audits;

(2)

processes for completing manual audits of independently verified records under section 301(a)(7) comparing such records with vote tallies;

(3)

the cost and burden on local election officials of conducting an audit;

(4)

the personnel and management requirements of conducting audits;

(5)

recommended protocols for auditing the security of elections, including chain of custody protocols, the maintenance, security, and accuracy of voter registration lists, and other procedures; and

(6)

the interaction of audits with State laws, including laws pertaining to recounts.

(e)

Publication of report

The Task Force shall make its recommendations to the Commission public upon delivering them to the Commission.

224.

Process for adoption

The Commission shall provide for publication of the recommendations from the Task Force, an opportunity for public comment on the proposed model audit guidelines, and an opportunity for a public hearing on the record. Final model audit guidelines shall be adopted by the Commission after a majority vote of the members of the Commission.

.

(2)

Technical amendment

Section 202 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15322) is amended by striking and at the end of paragraph (5), by striking the period at the end of paragraph (6) and inserting ; and, and by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(7)

carrying out the duties described in part 4 (relating to the adoption of model audit guidelines), including the maintenance of a clearinghouse of information on the experiences of State and local governments in implementing the guidelines and in conducting audits in general.

.

(3)

Clerical amendment

The table of contents of such Act is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 222 the following:

Part 4—Model audit guidelines

Sec. 223. Audit Guidelines Development Task Force.

Sec. 224. Process for adoption.

.

4.

Election security

(a)

Chain of custody protocols and disclosure

(1)

In general

Section 301(a) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15481(a)), as amended by section 2(a), is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

(8)

Chain of custody protocols

No voting system may be used in an election for Federal office unless the chain of custody for the handling of all voting systems, technologies, and other innovations used in connection with voting systems for independent verification and for other voting processes and purposes (including ballots and independently verified records under section 301(a)(7)) is documented by State election officials, under standards developed by the State, and made available to the Commission upon request.

(9)

Disclosure

(A)

Disclosure of election-dedicated software

(i)

In general

No voting system shall at any time contain or use any election-dedicated software unless such software has been disclosed as provided under clause (ii).

(ii)

Disclosure

Software disclosed under this subparagraph shall be disclosed to the Commission and to any State using such voting system in electronic form and shall include such information as is necessary to assess the integrity and efficacy of such software.

(B)

Disclosure of other software

No voting system shall at any time contain or use any software other than election-dedicated software unless the manufacturer of such software discloses in electronic form such information as the Commission determines appropriate to the Commission, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Chief State election official of any State using such voting system.

(C)

Timing of disclosure

Any disclosure required under subparagraph (A) or (B) shall be made before any voting system containing such software is used in an election for Federal office, except that in the case of software additions or patches which are necessary for the secure and proper functioning of the voting system and the disclosure of which cannot be made in adequate time prior to the election, such disclosure shall be made in a reasonable period of time after the election.

(D)

Storage of software

The Commission shall transmit the information disclosed under subparagraphs (A) and (B) to an entity selected by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in consultation with the Commission.

(E)

Use of information

(i)

In general

Information disclosed under this paragraph may not be provided to any person except as provided in this subparagraph.

(ii)

Disclosure to governmental entities

Information disclosed under this paragraph may be provided to the Commission, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Chief State election official of any State using such electronic voting software in a voting system, or any other Federal or State governmental entity responsible for the administration or enforcement of election laws, but only for the purposes of administering or enforcing election laws, or for review, analysis, and reporting as provided in subparagraphs (F) and (G).

(iii)

Disclosure to parties in litigation

Information disclosed under this paragraph may be provided to a party involved in litigation with respect to an election in which such electronic voting software is used, but only if such information is disclosed—

(I)

pursuant to the order of a judge after a showing—

(aa)

of need; and

(bb)

that such information is directly related to the litigation; and

(II)

to all parties involved in such litigation.

Information disclosed under this clause may only be disclosed to the extent necessary for the review and analysis of such information (as provided in subparagraphs (F) and (G)) for use in such litigation.
(iv)

Disclosure to other persons

Information disclosed under this paragraph may be provided to independent technical experts and other persons and entities consistent with standards established by the Commission, but only for purposes of reviewing, analyzing, and reporting on the operation of such software as provided in subparagraphs (F) and (G).

(F)

Scope of review, analysis, and reporting

The review, analysis, and reporting of software permitted under subparagraph (E) may only consist of the following:

(i)

In the case of election-dedicated software, performing review and analysis of the software, disclosing reports and analysis that describe operational issues (including vulnerabilities to tampering, errors, risks associated with use, failures as a result of use, and other operational issues), and describing or explaining why or how a voting system failed or otherwise did not perform as intended, but only if the information published does not compromise the integrity of the software or result in the disclosure of trade secrets or other confidential commercial information, or violate intellectual property rights in such software.

(ii)

In the case of software other than election-dedicated software, performing review and analysis of the software, and issuing reports that describe operational issues, but only if the information published does not compromise the integrity of the software or result in the disclosure of trade secrets or other confidential commercial information, or violate intellectual property rights in such software.

(G)

Protection of information provided through disclosure

Any recipient of information disclosed under this paragraph—

(i)

shall not compromise the integrity of the software with respect to which such information relates;

(ii)

shall not disclose any trade secrets or other confidential commercial information with respect to such software; and

(iii)

shall not violate any intellectual property rights in such software.

The Commission shall develop a process with manufacturers and holders of intellectual property to ensure compliance with the requirements of this subparagraph.
(H)

Election-dedicated software

For purposes of this paragraph, the term election-dedicated software means software that—

(i)

is specifically designed for use primarily in a voting system; or

(ii)

has been specifically modified for use primarily in a voting system, but only to the extent of such modification.

.

(2)

Effective date

Section 301(d)(2)(A) of such Act, as added by section 2(c), is amended by striking paragraph (7) and inserting paragraphs (7), (8), and (9).

(b)

Minimum standards To ensure integrity of voting process and education and training of poll workers

Section 254(a) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15404(a)), as amended by section 3(c), is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(15)

How the State will establish minimum standards with respect to—

(A)

ensuring the integrity of the voting process at the polling place on Election Day (which may include standards with respect to chain of custody, parallel testing of voting systems, routine inspections of polling places for the use of appropriate polling procedures, and other processes); and

(B)

the education and training of poll workers (which may include standards with respect to Federal and State law requirements, voting systems, the provision of contact information, and other processes).

.

(c)

Contingency plans

Section 254(a) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15404(a)), as amended by subsection (b), is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(16)

How the State will provide for contingency plans in the event of voting system failures and other events, such as national or State emergencies, that may impact the results of an election for Federal office, including—

(A)

how the State will ensure the integrity of the voting process on election day—

(i)

at the polling place (which may include the use of emergency ballots by means of a paper record, an electronic record, an audio record, a video record, a pictorial record, or another independently produced record); and

(ii)

at any place other than the polling place;

(B)

if the State provides for the use of emergency paper ballots, how the State will comply with the accessibility requirements for individuals with disabilities under section 301(a)(3)(A) and the alternative language accessibility requirements under section 301(a)(4); and

(C)

the selection of polling locations that are best able to manage voting system failures and other events that may impact the election.

.

(d)

Voluntary voting system guidelines

Section 222 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15362) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(f)

2007 Guidelines

The 2007 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines shall be the voluntary voting system guidelines referred to in this part as of the date such guidelines are adopted by the Commission under subsection (d). Nothing in the preceding sentence shall be construed to limit the authority of the Development Committee or the Commission to modify such guidelines or to issue new guidelines or recommendations.

.

5.

Testing and certification

(a)

In general

Section 231(b) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15371(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

(3)

Prohibiting conflicts of interest; ensuring availability of results

(A)

In general

A laboratory may not be accredited by the Commission for purposes of this section unless—

(i)

the laboratory certifies that the only compensation it receives for the testing carried out in connection with the certification, decertification, and recertification of the manufacturer’s voting system hardware and software is the payment made from the Testing Escrow Account under paragraph (4);

(ii)

the laboratory meets such standards as the Commission shall establish (after notice and opportunity for public comment) to prevent the existence or appearance of any conflict of interest in the testing carried out by the laboratory under this section, including standards to ensure that the laboratory does not have a financial interest in the manufacture, sale, and distribution of voting system hardware and software, and is sufficiently independent from other persons with such an interest;

(iii)

the laboratory certifies that it will permit an expert designated by the Commission to observe any testing the laboratory carries out under this section; and

(iv)

the laboratory, upon completion of any testing carried out under this section, discloses the test protocols, results, and all communication between the laboratory and the manufacturer to the Commission.

(B)

Availability of results

Upon receipt of information under subparagraph (A), the Commission shall make the information available promptly to election officials and the public. The Commission shall ensure such disclosure does not include any trade secrets or confidential information and does not violate intellectual property rights.

(4)

Procedures for conducting testing; payment of user fees for compensation of accredited laboratories

(A)

Establishment of escrow account

The Commission shall establish an escrow account (to be known as the Testing Escrow Account) for making payments to accredited laboratories for the costs of testing carried out in connection with the certification, decertification, and recertification of voting system hardware and software.

(B)

Schedule of fees

In consultation with the accredited laboratories, the Commission shall establish and regularly update a schedule of fees for testing carried out in connection with the certification, decertification, and recertification of voting system hardware and software, based on the reasonable costs expected to be incurred by the accredited laboratories in carrying out such testing for various types of hardware and software.

(C)

Requests and payments by manufacturers

A manufacturer of voting system hardware and software may not have the hardware or software tested by an accredited laboratory under this section unless—

(i)

the manufacturer submits such system for testing to the Commission; and

(ii)

the manufacturer pays to the Commission, for deposit into the Testing Escrow Account established under subparagraph (A), the applicable fee under the schedule established and in effect under subparagraph (B).

(D)

Selection of laboratory

Upon receiving a system submitted for testing and the payment from a manufacturer required under subparagraph (C), the Commission shall select at random, to the greatest extent possible, from all laboratories which are accredited under this section, a laboratory to carry out the testing.

(E)

Payments to laboratories

Upon receiving a certification from a laboratory selected to carry out testing pursuant to subparagraph (D) that testing is completed, along with a copy of the results of the test as required under paragraph (3)(A)(iv), the Commission shall make a payment to the laboratory from the Testing Escrow Account established under subparagraph (A) in an amount equal to the applicable fee paid by the manufacturer under subparagraph (C)(ii).

(5)

Dissemination of additional information on accredited laboratories

(A)

Information on testing

The Commission shall disseminate to the public the identification of the laboratory which carried out the testing.

(B)

Laboratories with accreditation revoked or suspended

If the Commission revokes, terminates, or suspends the accreditation of a laboratory under this section, or if the Commission has credible evidence of significant security failures at accredited laboratories, the Commission shall promptly notify Congress, the chief State election official of each State, and the public.

.

(b)

Conforming amendments

Section 231 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15371) is further amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)(1), by striking testing, certification, and all that follows and inserting the following: testing of voting system hardware and software by accredited laboratories in connection with the certification, decertification, and recertification of the hardware and software for purposes of this Act.;

(2)

in subsection (a)(2), by striking testing, certification, and all that follows and inserting the following: testing of its voting system hardware and software by the laboratories accredited by the Commission under this section in connection with certifying, decertifying, and recertifying such hardware.;

(3)

in subsection (b)(1), by striking testing, certification, decertification, and recertification and inserting testing; and

(4)

in subsection (d), by striking testing, certification, decertification, and recertification each place it appears and inserting testing.

(c)

Deadline for establishment of standards and escrow account

The Election Assistance Commission shall establish the standards described in section 231(b)(3) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and the Testing Escrow Account described in section 231(b)(4) of such Act (as added by subparagraph (A)) not later than than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act.

6.

Research and development

(a)

Grants for the development and testing of new voting systems, technologies, and innovations

(1)

In general

Subtitle C of title II of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15321 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

248.

Grants for the development and testing of new voting systems, technologies, and innovations

(a)

In general

The Commission shall, in consultation with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, make grants to qualified academic and research institutions for the development and testing of new voting systems, technologies, and innovations for purposes of meeting the independent verification requirements under section 301(a)(7).

(b)

Eligibility

An academic and research institution is eligible to receive a grant under this section if it submits an application to the Commission at such time, in such form, and containing such information and certifications as the Commission may require.

(c)

Providing for a peer-review process

Each academic and research institute which receives a grant under this section shall ensure that there is a process for peer review of the activities carried out with the funds provided under the grant.

(d)

Applicability of regulations governing patent rights in inventions made with Federal assistance

Any invention made by the recipient of a grant under this section using funds provided under this section shall be subject to chapter 18 of title 35, United States Code (relating to patent rights in inventions made with Federal assistance).

(e)

Report

(1)

In general

Each academic and research institution which receives a grant under this section shall submit to the Commission a report describing the activities carried out with the funds provided under the grant.

(2)

Deadline

An academic and research institution shall submit a report required under paragraph (1) not later than 6 months after the end of the fiscal year for which the entity received the grant which is the subject of the report.

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

(1)

In general

There are authorized to be appropriated for grants under this section $15,000,000 for fiscal year 2009 and such sums as may be necessary for succeeding fiscal years.

(2)

Availability of funds

Amounts appropriated pursuant to the authorization under this subsection shall remain available, without fiscal year limitation, until expended.

.

(2)

Clerical amendment

The table of contents of such Act is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 247 the following new item:

Sec. 248. Grants for the development and testing of new voting systems, technologies, and innovations.

.

(b)

Pilot program for testing and analyzing the performance of new voting systems, technologies, and innovations

(1)

In general

Subtitle C of title II of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15321 et seq.), as amended by subsection (a), is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

249.

Pilot program for testing and analyzing the performance of new voting systems, technologies, and innovations

(a)

In general

The Commission shall, in consultation with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, make grants to carry out pilot programs under which new voting systems, technologies, and other innovations are tested and the performance of such systems, technologies, and innovations is evaluated with respect to the independent verification requirements under section 301(a)(7).

(b)

Eligibility

An entity is eligible to receive a grant under this part if it submits an application to the Commission at such time, in such form, and containing such information and certifications as the Commission may require.

(c)

Providing for a peer-review process

Each entity which receives a grant under this section shall ensure that there is a process for peer review of the activities carried out with the funds provided under the grant.

(d)

Applicability of regulations governing patent rights in inventions made with Federal assistance

Any invention made by the recipient of a grant under this section using funds provided under this section shall be subject to chapter 18 of title 35, United States Code (relating to patent rights in inventions made with Federal assistance).

(e)

Report

(1)

In general

Each entity which receives a grant under this section shall submit to the Commission a report describing the activities carried out with the funds provided under the grant.

(2)

Deadline

An entity shall submit a report required under paragraph (1) not later than 6 months after the end of the fiscal year for which the entity received the grant which is the subject of the report.

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

(1)

In general

There are authorized to be appropriated for grants under this section $15,000,000 for fiscal year 2009 and such sums as may be necessary for succeeding fiscal years.

(2)

Availability of funds

Amounts appropriated pursuant to the authorization under this subsection shall remain available, without fiscal year limitation, until expended.

.

(2)

Clerical amendment

The table of contents for such Act, as amended by subsection (a), is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 248 the following new item:

Sec. 249. Pilot program for testing and analyzing the performance of new voting systems, technologies, and innovations.

.

7.

Reauthorization of requirements payments

(a)

Task force on requirements payment amounts

(1)

In general

Part 1 of subtitle D of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15401 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

259.

Task force on requirements payments

(a)

Establishment

The Commission shall establish a task force to study and develop recommendations regarding the appropriate level of funding for requirements payments under this part (hereafter in this part referred to as the Task Force).

(b)

Membership

The Task Force shall be composed of members selected by the Commission, in consultation with the Technical Guidelines Development Committee, the Standards Board, and the Board of Advisors.

(c)

Reports

The Task Force shall submit, not less frequently than annually, to the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate and the Committee on House Administration of the House of Representatives reports on the recommendations developed under subsection (a).

.

(2)

Clerical amendment

The table of contents for such Act is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 258 the following new item:

Sec. 259. Task force on requirements payments.

.

(b)

Sense of the Senate relating to amounts appropriated for requirements payments

It is the sense of the Senate that in appropriating amounts to fund requirements payments under part 1 of subtitle D of title II of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15401 et seq.), Congress should—

(1)

appropriate amounts sufficient to ensure that States and jurisdictions are able to meet the requirements of title III of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15481 et seq.); and

(2)

take into consideration the funding levels recommended by the task force on requirements payments under section 259 of such Act (as added by subsection (a)).

(c)

Reauthorization

Section 257(a) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15407(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(4)

For fiscal year 2010 and each year thereafter, such sums as may be necessary.

.

(d)

Reports

Section 258 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15408) is amended—

(1)

by striking Not later and inserting the following:

(a)

In general

Not later

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following new subsections:

(b)

Model reports

The Commission shall develop a model expenditure and receipts report for use by States in filing reports under this section.

(c)

Reports to Congress

The Commission shall submit to the Committee on Rules of the Senate and the Committee on House Administration of the House of Representatives an annual report summarizing the expenditures, receipts, and activities reported by each State under subsection (a).

.

8.

Technical guidelines development committee

Section 221(c)(1) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15361(c)(1)) is amended—

(1)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking 14 and inserting 16;

(2)

by redesignating subparagraph (E) as subparagraph (G); and

(3)

by inserting after subparagraph (D) the following new subparagraphs:

(E)

A representative of the voting system manufacturing industry.

(F)

A representative of the voting system accessibility and usability sector.

.

9.

Prohibiting refusal to accept voter registration and absentee ballot applications and federal write-in absentee ballots for failure to meet nonessential requirements

(a)

Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Applications

Section 102 of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff–1) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(e)

Prohibiting Refusal To Accept Applications for Failure To Meet Nonessential Requirements

A State shall accept and process any otherwise valid voter registration application or absentee ballot application (including the official post card form prescribed under section 101) submitted in any manner by an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter that contains the information required on the official post card form prescribed under section 101 (other than information which the Presidential designee, in consultation with the Election Assistance Commission, determines, under regulations promulgated by the Presidential designee, is not clearly necessary to prevent fraud in the conduct of elections).

.

(b)

Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot

Section 103 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff–2) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating subsection (f) as subsection (g); and

(2)

by inserting after subsection (e) the following new subsection:

(f)

Prohibiting Refusal To Accept Ballot for Failure To Meet Nonessential Requirements

A State shall accept and process any otherwise valid Federal write-in absentee ballot submitted in any manner by an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter that contains the information required to be submitted with such ballot by the Presidential designee (other than information which the Presidential designee, in consultation with the Election Assistance Commission, determines, under regulations promulgated by the Presidential designee, is not clearly necessary to prevent fraud in the conduct of elections).

.

10.

Ballot layout design

Section 254(a) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15404(a)), as amended by section 4, is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(17)

A description of the efforts the State will make to assist State and local election officials in improving ballot design, taking into consideration best practices, including best practices developed by the Commission.

.