|HAVA - The Help
America Vote Act:
What Every Voter Should Know
Download this flyer (pdf)
What is HAVA?
The Help America Vote Act (HAVA)
was signed into law by President Bush
on October 29, 2002. HAVA is the most important piece of
since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It seeks to increase voter
confidence in the election process and make voting more accessible to
How Does HAVA Affect Alabama
HAVA sets rules for the voting system. In general, the voting
What Will the Voter Find
- Permit the voter to check and correct the ballot in
before the ballot is cast and counted;
- Provide the voter with the opportunity to obtain
if the voter is unable to change the ballot or correct the error
- If the voter selects votes for more than one candidate
a single office:
- Let the voter know that more than one candidate was
selected for that office;
- Discuss with the voter the effect of casting
votes for the same office before the ballot is counted, and
- Provide the voter with the opportunity to correct
before the ballot is counted.
- Ensure privacy of the voter when advising
him or her of the error.
- Produce a permanent paper record of the vote including
- Be accessible for all individuals with disabilities,
accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, in a manner that
insures the same opportunity for access and participation, including
privacy and independence as for other voters.
- Provide language accessibility for voters whose
is not English in counties where the bilingual population is 5% or
- Define what a vote is and what will be counted as a
- HAVA requires the state to create a single
list that contains the name and registration information of every
legally registered voter in the State.
- If the voter believes that he or she is registered,
person's name does not appear on the voter list, then the voter must
provide written documentation proving that he or she is a registered
voter in that location and eligible to vote in that election. The
individual is then permitted to vote, and the ballot is counted when it
is proven that the individual is a registered voter and eligible to
vote in that election. This ballot is called a provisional
ballot. Election officials must notify a voter who cast a
provisional ballot whether it was counted, and if not, why not.
HAVA requires that specific information be posted at the polling place
on Election Day:
Requirements for Voters
Register by Mail
- a sample version of the ballot that will be used for
- information regarding the date of the election and the
hours during which polling places will be open;
- instructions on how to vote, including how to cast a
when there is a problem;
- instructions for voters who registered by mail and
- general information on voting rights based on federal
laws, including information on the right of an individual to cast a
provisional ballot and how to contact appropriate individuals if these
rights have been violated; and
- information on federal and state laws regarding acts
voting fraud and misrepresentation.
- HAVA requires that any individual who votes after the
vote a provisional ballot that will be counted as their status as a
registered voter is proven.
HAVA requires an individual who registers by mail and who has never
voted in the state before to provide specific identification before
being permitted to vote.*
An exception can be made where a driver's license number or
digits of a social security number given by the voter matches
information in the driver's license database of the Alabama Department
of Public Safety. Voters who do not present ID must be permitted
to cast a ballot (but whether the vote will count is determined by the
provisional ballot system). If a first-time voter casts a vote by
mail, he or she must submit a copy of one of the documents with the
- Acceptable identification includes: current and
photo identification or a current utility bill, bank statement,
government check, paycheck or other government document that
shows the name and address of the voter.
- NOTE: Alabama law requires that the voter
valid identification every time before being permitted to vote. This
law also requires an absentee voter to mail a copy of valid ID
with the ballot (or present valid ID if returning the ballot in person)
in order for the vote to
information was first published by the LWVAL Education Fund in May,
2004. The mission of the League of Women Voters Education Fund is to
funding for projects designed to inform and educate citizens of Alabama
on issues of government and public policy in order to facilitate their
active and informed participation in government.
Download the flyer (pdf).