The Gallatin County Election Department has received a $127,974 federal grant to help secure and improve election administration in our area.
The money comes from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which was passed in 2002 to address systemic problems in America’s elections.
HAVA created the Election Assistance Commission, improved access for voters with disabilities, created state-managed voter registration databases, established identification and provisional voting requirements, and improved standards for voting systems.
This year, Congress has appropriated $425 million in new HAVA funds to continue working toward the goal of enhancing technology and making election security improvements.
Montana was allocated $3,127,978, and the Montana Secretary of State’s Office will provide a 20% state match. Of those funds, over $1.9 million in subgrants were given to Montana’s 56 counties.
With the money Gallatin County is receiving, the Election Department in conjunction with the Gallatin County IT Security Officer have identified some immediate needs for these funds in order to make security improvements for the 2020 election cycle.
Over the next five years, the Election Department will use these funds to enhance election technology, improve services to voters, and maintain the efficacy of elections in Gallatin County.
“We are very pleased with the award of the HAVA subgrant to Gallatin County. It is a significant boost to our ability to enhance election security and technology for the citizens of the County,” said Gallatin County Election Administrator Eric Semerad. “Some of the money will be used to address election security in this very significant presidential election year. The remainder will be used to purchase new election technology and provide for additional security in the future.”
In 2018, the Gallatin County Election Department was awarded a $22,939.87 HAVA grant that was used to help purchase a third high-speed ballot tabulator.