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Shaheen Calls on the Election Assistance Commission to Clarify Whether States Can Use Federal Funding to Make Local Elections More Accessible

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) is sending a letter to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) calling on the agency to clarify whether grant funds from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) can be used to make local elections more accessible to voters with disabilities. To maximize the resources available to remove barriers to accessing the ballot box for Granite Staters with disabilities, Shaheen’s letter, which was sent to EAC Acting Executive Director Jessica Bowers, asks the EAC whether accessible voting machines bought with HAVA funds can be loaned to municipalities for local elections.  

In part, Shaheen wrote, “Since its establishment, part of the EAC’s mission has been to ensure that voters with disabilities have equal access to the ballot. I laud the EAC’s commitment to this mission and work to increase the availability of accessible voting machines and technology. However, there is more to be done in order to ensure voters with disabilities have equal opportunity to cast their votes.” 

Shaheen concluded, “Many states have used these grant funds to increase accessibility for voters with disabilities. [...] Therefore, I ask the EAC, as the entity charged with implementing HAVA, to state clearly and publicly whether a state that has purchased accessible voting machines with HAVA funds, in whole or in part, may make these machines available to localities for use in strictly local elections.”  

The full text of the letter can be found here.  

Shaheen has long supported action to expand access to the ballot box and protect election integrity in our country. In response to New Hampshire voters receiving deepfake robocalls that impersonated President Biden and advised them not to vote ahead of the state’s primary election last month, Shaheen urged the Department of Justice and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to jointly address AI-generated deepfake technologies and the threat they pose to the democratic process.  

Last year, Shaheen reintroduced an amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision, which removed campaign finance restrictions and enabled entities to spend unlimited money to influence elections. In addition, Shaheen and a group of Senators led by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Election Worker Protection Act, which would provide states with the resources to recruit and train election workers to help ensure their safety, while also instituting federal safeguards to shield election workers from intimidation and threats. In 2022, Shaheen helped introduce and pass two proposals that included legislation to reform and modernize the outdated Electoral Count Act of 1887 to ensure that the electoral votes tallied by Congress accurately reflect each state’s vote for President. In 2023, Shaheen helped reintroduce the?DISCLOSE Act, legislation that would require organizations spending money in federal elections to disclose their donors and help guard against hidden foreign influence in our democracy.