Rational and Pluralistic Approaches to HAVA Implementation

Specific Elections: 
Working Paper No.: 
Date Published: 
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez

The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) has created a new dynamic for the oversight and implementation of federal elections, requiring states to assume greater control of election processes vis-a-vis their local governments than was previously the case in most states. We consider how HAVA has changed the relationship between states and localities, especially through the HAVA planning process. We examine two approaches that states have used in HAVA planning—a rational approach and a pluralistic approach—and how each can shape the power relationship between states and localities. We then present case studies from Georgia and California to illustrate how these two approaches have functioned in practice.

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