Federal Law

For detailed information on federal election law, please visit the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and/or the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) websites.

On this page please find a brief description of recently enacted federal legislation that affects the administration of elections in Vermont.

Help America Vote Act of 2002

In the wake of the 2000 presidential election, the United States Congress passed election reform legislation known as the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). This law required broad changes to the way Vermont conducts its elections. Most notably HAVA mandated the creation of a statewide voter registration checklist, the acceptance of provisional ballots, and the purchase of a voting system for every polling place to allow individuals with disabilities to vote privately and independently. It also required poll worker and voter education programs. Vermont has received federal funds to assist the state and municipalities in meeting the new federal mandates. View or download the HAVA Summary.

Grants for Voting Access for Individuals with Disabilities

Unfortunately, the federal government will not be extending this grant program in 2014. States have been authorized to grant out any remaining funds on a rolling basis, but no new funds will be provided. The Office of the Secretary of State has limited remaining funds available for these grants. For additional information related to these grants, please contact Linda Hall at 802-828-0586.

Voting Access for Individuals with Disabilities (VOTE) is intended to help ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to polling places and may vote privately and independently. Funding will be available to municipalities and organizations that serve individuals with disabilities.

Municipalities may apply to receive funds to ensure that their polling facility is accessible to individuals with a full range of disabilities. This may include activities such as paving parking areas, building ramps inside/outside buildings, building curb cuts, and replacing door knobs with lever handles.

The request for proposals (RFP) was issued on January 7, 2013. You can download the application, or contact Linda Hall at 802-828-0586 for a paper copy.

Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act

Enacted in 1986, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) protects the right of service members to vote in federal elections regardless of where they are stationed. This law requires that states and territories allow members of the U.S. Uniformed Services and Merchant Marines, and their family members; and U.S. citizens residing outside the United States to register and vote absentee in elections for federal offices.

Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act

UOCAVA was expanded significantly in 2009, when the U.S. Congress passed the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act to provide greater protections for service members, their families, and other overseas citizens. Among other provisions, the MOVE Act requires states to transmit validly-requested absentee ballots to UOCAVA voters no later than 45 days before a federal election, when the request has been received by that date, except where the state has been granted an undue hardship waiver approved by the Department of Defense for that election.

For more detailed information on both UOCAVA and the MOVE Act amendments, refer to the Department of Justice.


This page was last updated: 2014-03-26