What Hath HAVA Wrought? Consequences, Intended and Not, of the Post-Bush v. Gore Reforms

Topics: 
Working Paper No.: 
102
Date Published: 
04/07/2011
Author(s): 
Charles Stewart III
MIT

The Help America Vote Act (HAVA)1 is the most important direct federal response to the 2000 electoral fiasco in Florida. HAVA had many provisions, some directly inspired by the controversy, others that came along for the ride. In addition to mandating certain changes in how states conducted federal elections, HAVA appropriated $3b for the improvement of voting systems, most of which went to purchase new voting machines.

It is natural to ask whether this was money well spent. More broadly, it is natural to ask whether elections are better administered in the United States, and whether the shortcomings targeted by HAVA have improved. It is the purpose of this paper to help address these questions.

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