2020 Federal Grants
Help America Vote Act (HAVA) 2020 CARES Act Grant Fund
On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law. The Act included $400 million in new Help America Vote Act (HAVA) emergency funds, made available to states to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus for the 2020 federal election cycle. This supplemental appropriation funding, distributed by the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC), provides states with additional resources to protect the 2020 elections from the effects of the novel coronavirus.
Pennsylvania's share of this federal funding is $14,223,603. An additional 20% match or $2,844,721 from state funds brought the total amount of the award to $17.1 million.
On April 28, 2020, Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar notified Pennsylvania counties the intent to distribute $6 million of its share of grant funds to the counties for the purposes of increased election expenses arising due to COVID-19, including but not limited to voter notifications and education, increased costs related to mail-in and absentee voting, supplies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and increased equipment, staffing, training, or other needs permissible under the CARES Act.
In addition, prior to the 2020 general election, Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar notified Pennsylvania counties of additional CARES Act funds available to cover postage costs associated with the return of mail-in ballots. While funding was made available to all counties, any counties opting to cover the costs initially, were provided a new grant award to be reimbursed for these associated costs. Other counties utilized the Department’s United Stated Postal Services Qualified Business Reply Mail Account to cover all postage expenditures directly.
Help America Vote Act (HAVA) 2020 Election Security Grant Fund
On December 20, 2019, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 was signed into law. The Act included $425 million in new Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds, made available to states to improve the administration of elections for Federal Office, including to enhance technology and make election security improvements. The 2020 HAVA Election Security Fund, authorized under Title I Section 101 of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, marks the second new appropriations for HAVA grants since FY2010. This funding will provide states with additional resources to secure and improve election administration.
Pennsylvania's share of this federal funding is $15,175,567. An additional 20% match or $3,035,114 from state funds brought the total amount of the award to $18.2 million.
On April 27, 2020, Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar notified the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) that Pennsylvania intended to distribute $7 million of its share of grant funds to the counties for these purposes:
- Increased personnel, equipment, and/or other approved expenditures related to the expansion of the provision and administration of election services and opportunities granted to Pennsylvania voters under Act 77 of 2019 (Act 77), historic bipartisan legislation providing the most comprehensive improvements to Pennsylvania’s elections in more than 80 years;
- Ransomware, DDOS Protections, and other cyber security measures;
- Increased security of voting systems and ballots; and/or
- Increased expenditures to expand vote by mail and other voter services.
Portions of both these grants will be expended directly by the Commonwealth for statewide efforts such as election security and technology enhancements for the counties and state, post-election audit implementation, training and support for election officials, notifying and educating voters of the change in primary date and the opportunity for all voters to vote by mail, providing precinct protection kits containing masks, sanitizers, and other supplies to all counties, implementing a statewide online accessible vote by mail option so that voters with disabilities can vote by mail, and other efforts consistent with the Acts.
Pennsylvania’s 2020 Program Narrative and Budget Outline (PDF)
County Grant Disbursement