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H.R. 5131 (114th): VOTE Act of 2016

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Apr 29, 2016.

Verifying Optimal Tools for Elections Act of 2016 or the VOTE Act of 2016

This bill amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to direct the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to make a payment to each eligible state in which a precinct used at least one outdated voting machine to administer the regularly scheduled federal general election held in November 2012.

A state shall use the funds from such a payment to replace outdated voting machines in qualifying precincts with voting machines that: (1) have never been used in any federal general election and are not outdated voting machines, or have been used only with respect to federal general elections held after November 2012; and (2) are auditable and meet specified requirements.

A state receiving such a payment shall ensure that all the outdated voting machines in its qualifying precincts have been replaced in time for the regularly scheduled federal general election in November 2018.

The EAC shall make grants to states for the education and training, through webinars or other appropriate means, of election officials and poll workers on matters including voting machine maintenance, pre- and post-election voting machine testing, and the development of contingency plans.

The EAC shall also make grants to state or local governments to conduct pilot testing with respect to, and carry out the implementation of, voting systems that use: (1) non-proprietary open source software, and (2) commercial or custom firmware and hardware.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shall develop, or fund the development of, a common data format allowing for voting-equipment device interoperability.

A voting system used in a federal election in a state may not at any time during the election contain or use any election-dedicated voting system technology that is not deposited by the state with the NIST National Software Reference Library before the election.