Notice of Request for Public Comment on Proposed Strategic Plan, 77634-77644 [E8-30195]

Download as PDF 77634 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 245 / Friday, December 19, 2008 / Notices Note: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO Access at www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/ index.html. Cheryl L. Oldham, Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education. [FR Doc. E8–30254 Filed 12–18–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P UNITED STATES ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION Notice of Request for Public Comment on Proposed Strategic Plan AGENCY: United States Election Assistance Commission. ACTION: Notice: Request for Public Comment. SUMMARY: The EAC seeks public comment on a ‘‘U.S. Election Assistance Commission Draft Strategic Plan Fiscal Years: 2009 Through 2014.’’ The EAC developed a strategic plan that lays out an approach to create a receptive and productive agency fully capable of the unique leadership role it has been given as a national clearinghouse, a manager of Federal financial assistance, a certifier of voting systems, and a resource for election officials throughout the country regarding the administration of Federal elections. EAC issues this notice according to a policy adopted on September 18, 2008 that requires EAC to provide notice and an opportunity for public comment on, among other things, advisories being considered for adoption by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. DATES: Comments must be received by 5 p.m. EST on January 20, 2009. ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted: Via e-mail at havainfo@eac.gov, via mail addressed to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, 1225 New York Ave, NW., Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20005, or by fax at 202/566–3127. Commenters are encouraged to submit comments electronically and include ‘‘Strategic Plan’’ in the subject line, to ensure timely receipt and consideration. Person To Contact for Information: Bryan Whitener, Telephone: (202) 566– 3100. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The following is the complete text of the proposed Strategic Plan the EAC is seeking public comment on. The proposed strategic plan may also be viewed on the EAC Web site at http:// www.eac.gov. U.S. ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION DRAFT STRATEGIC PLAN [Fiscal Years: 2009 Through 2014] Table of contents Page No. Background ................................................................................................................................................................................................ Funding State Improvements to Elections ......................................................................................................................................... Standards for Voting Systems ............................................................................................................................................................ Election Assistance Commission ....................................................................................................................................................... Guiding Principles ............................................................................................................................................................................... The Planning Process ........................................................................................................................................................................ VISION AND MISSION .............................................................................................................................................................................. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES ...................................................................................................................................................................... GOAL 1—Communicate ............................................................................................................................................................................ GOAL 2—Fund and Oversee .................................................................................................................................................................... GOAL 3—Study, Guide, and Assist .......................................................................................................................................................... GOAL 4—Test and Certify ........................................................................................................................................................................ GOAL 5—Manage ..................................................................................................................................................................................... EXTERNAL FACTORS THAT IMPACT ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES .................................................... APPENDICES ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 1. Organization Chart ......................................................................................................................................................................... 2. Stakeholders ................................................................................................................................................................................... 3. Summary of Goals, Objectives, & Measures ................................................................................................................................. Background In October 2002, Congress, with the leadership and overwhelming bipartisan support of the members of the U.S. House Committee on House Administration, passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). HAVA represents an unprecedented effort by Congress to enhance the administration of Federal elections through funding, guidance and policies. HAVA was not contemplated as a short-term or partial solution to the issues and problems with the administration of Federal elections that came to the forefront during the 2000 elections. The law recognized the need to invest in our election infrastructure and set out a comprehensive program of VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:29 Dec 18, 2008 Jkt 217001 funding, guidance, and ongoing research that spans the course of many years. Funding State Improvements to Elections The Congress initially appropriated approximately $3 billion for payments to states during fiscal years 2003 and 2004. These funds were authorized under three separate sections of HAVA. Section 101 funds may be used to improve the administration of elections for Federal office. Section 102 funds may be used to replace punch-card and lever-action voting systems. Section 251 funds may be used to (1) improve voting systems, (2) establish and implement statewide voter registration databases, (3) implement provisional voting, (4) provide information to the voting public PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 6 9 12 16 19 21 22 22 23 24 in the polling place, and (5) otherwise improve the administration of elections for Federal office. Congress appropriated an additional $115 million of Section 251 funds in fiscal year 2008. Generally, the funds are available to states until expended. Standards for Voting Systems A major provision of HAVA established minimum requirements for voting systems used in Federal elections. Each voting system must: • Permit the voter to verify the selections made prior to casting the ballot; • Permit the voter to change a selection prior to casting the ballot; • Notify the voter when an overvote (making more than the permissible E:\FR\FM\19DEN1.SGM 19DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 245 / Friday, December 19, 2008 / Notices number of selections in a single contest) occurs; • Notify the voter of the ramifications of an overvote; • Produce a permanent paper record that can be used in a recount or audit of an election; • Provide accessibility to disabled voters; • Provide foreign language accessibility in jurisdictions covered by Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act; and • Meet the error rate standard established in the 2002 Voting System Standards. Election Assistance Commission To foster those programs and to promote and enhance voting for United States citizens, HAVA established the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). EAC is an independent bipartisan commission. Four full-time commissioners, appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, guide the EAC. Through the agency, the Federal government has assumed a role in the administration of Federal elections. Specifically, EAC is statutorily required to: • Create a clearinghouse of information for election officials and the public. • Distribute and monitor HAVA funds to states for election administration improvements. • Conduct periodic studies of election administration issues. • Establish best practices and guidelines on election administration for state and local election officials. • Issue, and periodically review and modify, as necessary, voluntary voting system guidelines. • Accredit voting system test labs and test and certify voting equipment. • Develop requirements for voter registration form design for states. • Provide Congress with a bi-annual report to assess the impact of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). HAVA also set up a Standards Board and the Board of Advisors to counsel EAC. In addition, the law established a Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) to assist EAC in the preparation of the voluntary voting system guidelines. EAC has 39 full-time employees and four part-time employees, including the four commissioners and their four special assistants. EAC is located in Washington, D.C., is managed by an Executive Director, and is organized (Appendix 1) to provide responsive service to its stakeholders (Attachment 2). Its budget for internal operations in fiscal year 2008 was $13,280,000. VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:29 Dec 18, 2008 Jkt 217001 Guiding Principles EAC is committed to: • Bipartisan collaboration to serve the best interests of the American voters. • Transparency in its work. • Professionalism, excellence, and adherence to the highest level of performance standards for EAC staff and contractors. • Accountability and integrity in the management and conduct of all EAC activities and programs. • Careful stewardship of taxpayer dollars and overall fiscal responsibility. • Timely performance of its duties. • Performance and public service without regard to race, sex, religion, national origin, age, special needs, sexual orientation, gender identification, or political affiliation in everything it does. • Thorough and efficient distribution of appropriate election administration information it gathers. The Planning Process To meet the challenge of supporting the states and local governments in implementing HAVA reforms, EAC developed a strategic plan that provides the framework for how it will use its resources effectively. The plan lays out an approach to create a receptive and productive agency fully capable of the unique leadership role it has been given as a national clearinghouse, a manager of Federal financial assistance, a certifier of voting systems, and a resource for election officials throughout the country regarding the administration of Federal elections. The plan is a valuable opportunity for EAC to work together as a team to consider a collective strategic outlook. With the help of the Commissioners, a vision and mission were reconfirmed. EAC’s senior management team then took on the task of identifying the critical issues facing EAC in the coming years and determined how best to meet them. The plan focuses on these issues and is intended to be the foundation from which to address issues that arise during fiscal years 2009 through 2014. EAC is committed to thinking both critically about its niche and strategically at how to make improvements in crucial areas, and this plan embraces the next steps to further that effort. The senior management team identified five strategic goals which are described in detail in this document and summarized in Appendix 3. Vision and Mission Vision Lead election reform that reaffirms the right to vote and to have all eligible votes counted accurately. PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77635 Mission Assist the effective administration of Federal elections. Goals and Objectives Goal 1: Communicate Communicate timely and accurate information on the effective administration of elections for Federal office and on the operations and services offered EAC. Increased interest in elections, new Federal funding, the rapid pace of change in election administration, and Congressional direction has led EAC to operate a national clearinghouse of election information. EAC obtains election information through in-house research and chartered studies and from other credible sources. EAC presents this information to the election community, the public, the media, and EAC employees principally through its Web site. Also, EAC must be responsive to valid inquiries about its programs and operations. Outcome The Congress, Federal agencies, state and local election officials, and the public receive reliable, accurate, and non-partisan information about administering, conducting, and participating in Federal elections and how, where, and when Americans vote. Objective 1: Operate the EAC clearinghouse effectively. Means and strategies for accomplishing objective: (a) Set EAC policy for a Web-based clearinghouse that will (i) establish the physical description of the clearinghouse and (ii) describe the contents to be presented to the public. (b) Launch a public information initiative about the contents and uses of the EAC Clearinghouse. (c) Maintain current and relevant information on the EAC Web site. (d) Conduct regular information audits of all EAC divisions to update the Clearinghouse and Web site with EAC input. Performance Measure • Issue clearinghouse policy within 6 months. • Post applicable information on the Web-based clearinghouse within 24 business hours of receipt. • Distribute at least one e-mail update per month to stakeholders about the Web-based clearinghouse. Objective 2: Respond to outside requests about the EAC timely and accurately. Means and strategies for accomplishing objective: E:\FR\FM\19DEN1.SGM 19DEN1 77636 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 245 / Friday, December 19, 2008 / Notices (a) Establish and implement policies and procedures for tracking requests, gathering information from EAC, responding to requests, verifying and documenting responses, and updating information for stakeholders. (b) Coordinate Commissioner and staff briefings for Members of Congress and Congressional staffers. (c) Maintain and make available to EAC staff an electronic Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reading room and a database of media and Congressional inquiries and responses. (d) Maintain a physical FOIA reading room. (e) Provide (FOIA) training to EAC staff to improve response rates. Performance Measure • Issue policies and procedures concerning request process within 6 months. • Distribute media and Congressional inquiry and response log to the EAC staff on a daily basis. • Respond to FOIA requests in accordance with requirements. • Respond to 75 percent of non-FOIA requests within 72 hours. Objective 3: Convey the results of EAC operations and accomplishments. Means and strategies for accomplishing objective: (a) Identify technologies and other communication opportunities that will ensure rapid delivery of information to a wide variety of stakeholders. (b) Actively promote the EAC electronic newsletter to expand the stakeholder database. (c) Inform Members of Congress and Congressional staffers about EAC initiatives and programs in general and in their districts. (d) Edit EAC materials and deliverables to ensure their accuracy and consistency. (e) Produce speeches and talking points for commissioners and EAC staff that accurately capture EAC activities and output. (f) Create an atmosphere of creativity and customer service. Performance Measure • Provide regular updates about EAC activities and election administration issues to EAC employees. • Produce an annual report that accurately captures EAC activities during the respective time period. • Produce an annual FOIA report to chronicle requests and responses. • Issue quarterly press releases summarizing EAC accomplishments. • Provide regular briefings regarding EAC activities to Congressional staffers. • Produce the annual report to the Congress by January 1 of each year for VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:29 Dec 18, 2008 Jkt 217001 the preceding year ending September 30. • Issue at least 12 EAC newsletters per year. Program Evaluation To evaluate the program: • Establish feedback mechanism to gain public input on effectiveness and relevance of Web-based clearinghouse. • Conduct monthly information audits on Web-based clearing house to ensure content is accurate and updated. Goal 2: Fund and Oversee Deliver and manage Federal funds effectively. For the first time, the Federal government has funded improvements to the voting process. EAC is responsible for the distribution and oversight of approximately $3 billion in payments to states and for other grant programs to improve Federal elections and gather election data. Most of the funding to States was used for purchasing new voting equipment that meets the standards in HAVA; establishing a computerized statewide voter registration list; educating voters about voting procedures, rights, and technology; training election officials, poll workers, and election volunteers; improving the accessibility and quantity of polling places; and otherwise improving the administration of elections for Federal office. EAC is responsible for the administration of these funds. Outcome States and other recipients promptly and accurately receive Federal funds administered by EAC and use the funds appropriately to improve the administration of elections for Federal office. Objective 1: Accurately and timely disburse Federal financial assistance administered by EAC. Means and strategies for accomplishing objective: (a) Develop program manual, including rules of general applicability, for each Federal financial assistance program administered by the EAC. (b) Thoroughly review all grant applications to select appropriate recipients. (c) Thoroughly review requests for payments/state plans under all programs to help assure recipients use funds for appropriate purposes. (d) Timely publish state plans and amendments to state plans. (e) Timely disburse funds on the basis of requests for reimbursement, certifications, and/or amendments to state plans. PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (f) Recoup and redistribute unspent Section 102 funds. Performance Measure • Publish program manual by January 2009. • Award grants within established timeframes. • Submit state plans for publication in the Federal Register within 30 days of receipt of the plan. • Submit payment requests to GSA with 10 days of receipt of acceptable requests/certifications. • Recoup and redistribute unspent Section 102 funds by May 2009 Objective 2: Effectively monitor Federal financial assistance administered by the EAC. Means and strategies for accomplishing objective: (a) Include in Program Manual reporting requirements and monitoring procedures. (b) Timely review all financial and narrative reports submitted. (c) Follow up on anomalies in reports or on non-reporting entities. (d) Prepare a timely annual report to the Congress on State use of HAVA Section 251 funds (requirements payments). (e) Review audit reports to identify internal control weaknesses and questionable uses of Federal funds administered by the EAC. (f) Conduct sight visits of recipients for whom EAC has found significant problems in financial and/or narrative reports and/or in audit reports. (g) Timely negotiate indirect cost rates with state election agencies.. Performance Measures • Send follow up letters to recipients regarding reporting anomalies or failure to file within 30 days of knowledge of such conditions. • Resolve 100 percent of audit findings within established timeframes. • Conduct site visits to at least three high priority grantees each year. • Negotiate indirect cost rates within 30 days of receipt of acceptable indirect cost proposals. • Issue the annual report to Congress on the expenditure of HAVA funds by July 15 of each year. Objective 3: Provide technical assistance and guidance on the management of Federal financial assistance administered by EAC to reduce the risk of inappropriate use of funds and accounting errors. Means and strategies for accomplishing objective: (a) Include in Program Manual guidance/references on use of funds, allowable costs, and managing funds. E:\FR\FM\19DEN1.SGM 19DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 245 / Friday, December 19, 2008 / Notices (b) Offer workshops and training sessions on management, use and reporting of Federal financial assistance administered by EAC. Performance Measures • Submit to the Commissioners all recommended policy and guidance concerning the administration of Federal financial assistance administered by the EAC within established timeframes. • Offer at least one workshop per year. • Respond to all inquires by recipients about the use and administration of funds in accordance with EAC requirements. Program Evaluation Assess the results of (1) audits (EAC Office of Inspector General and State) of recipient expenditure of Federal financial assistance administered by EAC, (2) EAC monitoring visits, and (3) EAC reviews of recipient annual financial reports. Implement additional controls over EAC administration of Federal financial assistance, as appropriate, on the basis of the assessments. Goal 3: Study, Guide, and Assist Identify and develop information on areas of pressing concern regarding the administration of elections for Federal office and issue recommended improvements, guidance, translations, and best practices as required by HAVA, and carry out responsibilities under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). HAVA mandates that the EAC conduct research on current election administration issues with the aim of promoting methods of voting and administering elections which will be the most ‘‘convenient, accessible, and easy to use;’’ ‘‘will yield the most accurate, secure, and expeditious system for voting and tabulating election results;’’ ‘‘will be nondiscriminatory;’’ and ‘‘will be efficient and cost-effective.’’ HAVA also requires that EAC produce guidelines and best practices for state use in implementing HAVA. HAVA also transfers from the Federal Election Commission to the EAC the responsibility for updating and maintaining the national mail voter registration application and for reporting on the impact of the NVRA on elections for Federal office. Outcome As a result of this goal (1) the election community and other key stakeholders improve the administration of elections for Federal office on the bases of VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:29 Dec 18, 2008 Jkt 217001 pertinent, impartial, timely, and highquality information, recommendations, guides and other tools on election and voting issues and (2) eligible citizens use the mail voter registration application to register to vote, register with a political party, or report a change of name, address, or other information. Objective 1: Complete research on relevant issues that improve the administration of elections for Federal office and expeditiously report on critical administration subjects and election data. Means and strategies for accomplishing objective: (a) Analyze unfinished research mandated by HAVA, and develop and prioritize an inventory of ideas for potential new projects internally and on the basis of input from stakeholders. (b) Establish, based on the inventory, annual research plans for completing research projects by EAC and by contractors in order of priority. Present plan to Board of Advisors and Standards Board for information and comments only. Obtain Commissioners approval for the plan and inform the Congress of any mandated research that is no longer useful. (c) Monitor research projects; tracking progress, checking the accuracy of results, and preparing reports. (d) Prepare, on the basis of data collected, recommendations for improvements for the election community. Performance Measures • Complete inventory of potential projects by July 2009. • Start 100 percent of annual planned and funded projects. • Meet the milestones for the completion of contracted research projects in accordance with contract schedules and deliverables. • Disseminate all completed research project reports to stakeholders. • Establish, in fiscal year 2009, a baseline for measuring stakeholder use of EAC research products to improve the administration of elections for Federal office. In subsequent years, increase the percentage of stakeholder use of EAC research products. Objective 2: Identify and collect required and useful data on election administration practices and on voting methods and demographics and make recommendations for improving the quality of practices, methods, and data. Means and strategies for accomplishing objective: (a) Identify data required to be collected by law and data needed by the Congress, election officials, and other stakeholders. PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77637 (b) Interact with state and local election data collection agencies and election associations to exchange information on data collection practices and identify ways to ensure data quality. (c) Amend EAC’s Election Day survey to include the collection of data on new election administration topics and on changes in required and desirable data elements. (d) Recommend improvements to the data collection process to the Congress and issue reports presenting data required by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act and EAC’s Election Day Survey. Performance Measure • Establish a baseline in fiscal year 2009 on the accuracy and completeness of data reported by states in response to EAC surveys. Increase the accuracy and completeness of reported data in each of the succeeding years. • Include recommendations to improve election administration and data to the Congress in the annual report on the Election Day survey. • Issue required reports to the Congress by the dates required by law. Objective 3: Issue guides, translations and other tools that are timely and useful. Means and strategies for accomplishing objective: (a) Provide guidance to states concerning the proper implementation of the HAVA Title III requirements. (b) Develop and administer the EAC Language Accessibility Program to assist election officials in meeting the needs of limited English proficiency voters. (c) Develop guidelines in Native American Languages. (d) Develop and maintain A Voter’s Guide to Federal Elections in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog. (e) Create interactive versions of the various Glossaries of Key Election Terminology on the EAC Web site. (f) Coordinate with the Department of Justice Voting Section to provide EAC language resources to jurisdictions required to meet the language minority requirements in Sections 203 and 404 of the Voting Rights Act. (g) Develop election management guidelines that can be easily adapted to suit an election jurisdiction’s needs. Performance Measures • Complete guidance on HAVA Title III requirements by October 2010. • Complete the Voters Guide to Federal Elections in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog by September 2009. E:\FR\FM\19DEN1.SGM 19DEN1 77638 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 245 / Friday, December 19, 2008 / Notices • Complete guidance for Native Americans by October 2010. • Complete interactive glossaries and management guidelines by October 2011. Objective 4: Update and maintain a national mail voter registration application and report to the Congress as required by NVRA Means and strategies for accomplishing objective: (a) Implement procedures to improve and maintain the national mail voter registration application and to govern state requests for changes to the application. (b) Provide guidance to states concerning the proper implementation of the NVRA. (c) Translate the form into Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog. Performance Measures • Publish regulations governing the administration of the application by December 2009. • Process all accepted requests to change the mail voter registration form within prescribed timeframes. • Issue the bi-annual report on the impact of NVRA by June 30 of each oddnumbered year. Program Evaluation Develop an assessment tool to monitor election community acceptance of EAC recommendations and guides. Goal 4: Test and Certify Build public confidence in elections by testing and certifying voting systems to improve system security, operation, and accessibility. Before the passage of HAVA, the Federal government was not involved in the testing of voting systems used in Federal elections. EAC’s first step in instituting a Testing and Certification Program was to work with its advisory committees and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop voluntary voting system guidelines against which voting systems will be evaluated. EAC completed the first iteration of the VVSG in 2005, and will regularly update the VVSG. In addition, EAC works with NIST to accredit laboratories to test voting equipment. Based on the tests of equipment and software conducted by laboratories, EAC will certify, decertify, or recertify voting systems, as appropriate. Outcome Voting equipment operates more reliably and securely and is more accessible to the disabled. States use the VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:29 Dec 18, 2008 Jkt 217001 EAC testing and certification program to ensure voting systems meet standards. Objective 1: Develop and update the voluntary voting system guidelines. Means and strategies for accomplishing objective: (a) Develop updated voluntary voting system guidelines in plain English that adequately address accuracy and reliability of voting systems and that are cost effective. (b) Develop and maintain testable, objective, and repeatable voluntary voting system test suites and (or) test methods. (c) Submit an updated draft of VVSG, prepared by the TGDC, to the Federal Register for public comment and hold public meetings with stakeholders on the proposed guidelines. (d) Consider comments on the draft TGDC version of the VVSG and prepare an EAC draft VVSG. Publish the EAC draft in the Federal Register for public comment. (e) Prepare, after consideration of comments, a final version of guidelines and present them at a public meeting for a vote of the Commissioners. Performance Measure • Produce updates to the VVSG no later than 2009 and 2012. Objective 2: Provide for the accreditation and revocation of accreditation of independent, nonfederal laboratories qualified to test voting systems to Federal standards. Means and strategies for accomplishing objective: (a) Develop, implement, and maintain policies and procedures for the accreditation and revocation of accreditation of voting system test laboratories (VSTLs). (b) Collaborate with NIST’s National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) to accredit laboratories and ensure compliance with accreditation requirements. (c) Implement a monitoring program to ensure the integrity of laboratories which test voting systems for Federal certification. Performance Measure • Complete accreditation reviews for all laboratories recommended to EAC by NIST and for all emergency actions within 90 days. • Test and document the results of the review of compliance with procedures by at least 100 percent of accredited laboratories every 2 years. Objective 3: Administer the testing, certification, decertification, and recertification of voting system hardware and software by accredited laboratories. PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Means and strategies for accomplishing objective: (a) Develop, implement, and maintain policies and procedures for the testing, certification, decertification, and recertification of voting system hardware and software by accredited VSTLs. (b) Implement the most recent voluntary voting system guidelines into the EAC’s testing and certification program and all of its components. (c) Monitor, in accordance with Chapter 8 of the Voting System Testing and Certification Program Manual, EAC-certified voting systems to ensure that the systems continue to meet the requirements of the Federal standards to which they were certified. (d) Conduct field reviews in state and local jurisdictions of EAC certified voting systems to ensure the systems fielded (i) match the system certified by the EAC and (ii) meet the requirements of the Federal standards to which they were certified. Performance Measure • Test 100 percent of systems qualifying for testing. • Conduct at least one review of a manufacturing facility of a registered manufacturer a least once every 4 years. • Conduct field reviews for at least 50 percent of jurisdictions that volunteer for reviews. (Measures may be modified after EAC determines average number of volunteers.) • Respond to requests for interpretations of voting system standards with 45 days. (Measures may be modified after EAC determines average number of requests.) Program Evaluation Assess comments to Federal Register publications and results of EAC oversight reviews of laboratory testing and election system compliance with standards. Goal 5: Manage Achieve organizational and management excellence. HAVA established the EAC to help implement mandated improvements to Federal elections. To that end, EAC will employ a variety of plans, resources, skills, processes, and technologies to ensure effective and efficient agency management. Outcome EAC Commissioners and staff of the testing and certification, payments and grants, election administration improvement, research, administration, and legal programs proficiently carry out EAC’s strategic objectives. E:\FR\FM\19DEN1.SGM 19DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 245 / Friday, December 19, 2008 / Notices Objective—Implement a high performance organization Means and strategies for accomplishing goal: (a) Foster a leadership environment that inspires, motivates and guides employees toward the strategic goals; coaches, mentors, and challenges staff; provides needed training and sharing of knowledge; and, models high standards of honesty, integrity, trust, and respect for all individuals. (b) Establish an organization structure, management systems, and decision-making processes that improve coordination and cooperation across the EAC and that support the efficient accomplishment of goals and priorities. (c) Clarify roles and responsibilities of commissioners and staff. (d) Attract and maintain a highperforming workforce that is diverse and that includes those with disabilities through outreach, competitive compensation, meaningful training, pleasant work space, flexible work schedules, telework, and state-of-the-art equipment. (e) Obtain sufficient funds, plan activities, and budget resources to accomplish the goals and objectives of EAC. (f) Provide effective financial management to programs. VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:29 Dec 18, 2008 Jkt 217001 77639 (g) Provide effective legal support to program operations. (h) Monitor EAC division progress in meeting goals and objectives. the agency’s ability to accomplish such an end is dependent upon a number of external factors that are not all within the agency’s control. Performance Measure • Meet annual performance measures. • Obtain a clean audit opinion on agency financial statements within 2 years of the initial statement preparation. • Institute an internal integrated budget and financial management system within 6 months. • Implement 90 percent of OIG audit recommendations within agreed upon timeframes. Acceptance by the Election Community Program Evaluation Implement an effective internal control assessment process that meets the requirements of Office of Management and Budget Circular A– 123, Management’s Responsibility for Internal Controls. Promptly implement agreed upon recommendations contained in EAC’s annual audit of its Performance and Accountability Report. Adequate funding for the maintenance of staff and support functions is essential for attainment of EAC goals and strategic objectives. External Factors That Impact Accomplishment of the Goals and Objectives EAC has an opportunity to remain a leader in the election community and have positive name recognition outside of the Federal government. However, PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 HAVA strictly limits EAC’s regulatory authority to that held by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) over the NVRA. As such, a significant number of EAC’s research and guidance is voluntary. It is critical to have state and local election officials adopt and apply these voluntary principles if EAC’s efforts are to succeed. Budget Legislative Changes Statutory changes to either the agency’s enabling legislation or to other statutes that directly impact the agency could affect the EAC’s ability to meet its goals and strategic objectives. Technology Developments in technology that are rapidly changing our world could provide both new opportunities and new risks for EAC. BILLING CODE 6820–KF–P E:\FR\FM\19DEN1.SGM 19DEN1 VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 245 / Friday, December 19, 2008 / Notices 17:29 Dec 18, 2008 Jkt 217001 PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19DEN1.SGM 19DEN1 EN19DE08.014</GPH> 77640 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 245 / Friday, December 19, 2008 / Notices Appendix 2 Stakeholders Government Entities With Oversight & Decision-Making Authority Regarding EAC White House Staff Members of Congress Office of Management & Budget EAC Technical Guidelines Development Committee Other Government Entities With HAVA Implementation Responsibilities or Interest in HAVA Groups Directly Affected by EAC Activities That Also Impact EAC Decision-Making Chief Election Authorities in Each State Local Election Officials EAC Standards Board EAC Board of Advisors VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:29 Dec 18, 2008 Jkt 217001 Federal Agencies Governors (Mayor in Washington, DC) State Legislatures (City Council in Washington, DC) Non-Government Groups Affected by HAVA Implementation Professional Groups for Election Officials PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77641 Professional Groups Representing State & Local Government Election Equipment & Services Vendors National Political Parties Other Groups Interested in EAC Activities & HAVA Implementation U.S. Citizens here and abroad Voter Advocacy Groups Universities and Academics Think Tanks International Organizations/Interests State and Local Election Officials E:\FR\FM\19DEN1.SGM 19DEN1 VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 245 / Friday, December 19, 2008 / Notices 17:29 Dec 18, 2008 Jkt 217001 PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19DEN1.SGM 19DEN1 EN19DE08.015</GPH> 77642 VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:29 Dec 18, 2008 Jkt 217001 PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19DEN1.SGM 19DEN1 77643 EN19DE08.016</GPH> Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 245 / Friday, December 19, 2008 / Notices 77644 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 245 / Friday, December 19, 2008 / Notices BILLING CODE 6820–KF–C DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Record of Decision for the Complex Transformation Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement—Operations Involving Plutonium, Uranium, and the Assembly and Disassembly of Nuclear Weapons AGENCY: National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. ACTION: Record of decision. SUMMARY: The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a separately organized agency within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is issuing this Record of Decision (ROD) for the continued transformation of the nuclear weapons complex (Complex). This ROD is based on information and analyses contained in the Complex Transformation Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (SPEIS) (DOE/EIS–0236–S4) issued on October 24, 2008 (73 FR 63460); comments received on the SPEIS; other NEPA analyses as noted; VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:29 Dec 18, 2008 Jkt 217001 and other factors, including cost, technical and security considerations, and the missions of NNSA. The SPEIS analyzes the potential environmental impacts of alternatives for transforming the nuclear weapons complex into a smaller, more efficient enterprise that can respond to changing national security challenges and ensure the longterm safety, security, and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile. The alternatives analyzed in the SPEIS are divided into two categories: programmatic and project-specific. Programmatic alternatives involve the restructuring of facilities that use or store significant (i.e., Category I/II) quantities of special nuclear material (SNM).1 These facilities produce plutonium components (commonly called pits 2), produce highly enriched uranium (HEU) components (including 1 As defined in section 11 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, special nuclear material is: (1) Plutonium, uranium enriched in the isotope 233 or in the isotope 235 and any other material which the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission determines to be special nuclear material; or (2) any material artificially enriched by any of the foregoing. Special nuclear material is separated into Security Categories I, II, III, and IV based on the type, attractiveness level, and quantity of the material. Categories I and II require the highest level of security. 2 A pit is the central core of a nuclear weapon, principally made of plutonium or enriched uranium. PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 secondaries 3), fabricate high explosives (HE) components, and assemble and disassemble nuclear weapons. The decisions announced in this ROD relate to the programmatic alternatives analyzed in the SPEIS. NNSA is issuing a separate ROD relating to the projectspecific alternatives. NNSA has decided to implement its preferred programmatic alternative as described in the SPEIS and summarized in this ROD. This decision will transform the plutonium and uranium manufacturing aspects of the complex into smaller and more efficient operations while maintaining the capabilities NNSA needs to perform its national security missions. The three major elements of the decisions announced in this ROD are: (1) Manufacturing and research and development (R&D) involving plutonium will remain at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico. To support these activities, NNSA will construct and operate the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement–Nuclear Facility (CMRR–NF) at LANL as a replacement for portions of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research (CMR) facility, a structure that is more than 50 years old 3 A secondary is the component of a nuclear weapon that contains elements needed to initiate the fusion reaction in a thermonuclear explosion. E:\FR\FM\19DEN1.SGM 19DEN1 EN19DE08.017</GPH> Thomas R. Wilkey, Executive Director, U.S. Election Assistance Commission. [FR Doc. E8–30195 Filed 12–18–08; 8:45 am]

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 245 (Friday, December 19, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 77634-77644]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-30195]


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UNITED STATES ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION


Notice of Request for Public Comment on Proposed Strategic Plan

AGENCY: United States Election Assistance Commission.

ACTION: Notice: Request for Public Comment.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The EAC seeks public comment on a ``U.S. Election Assistance 
Commission Draft Strategic Plan Fiscal Years: 2009 Through 2014.'' The 
EAC developed a strategic plan that lays out an approach to create a 
receptive and productive agency fully capable of the unique leadership 
role it has been given as a national clearinghouse, a manager of 
Federal financial assistance, a certifier of voting systems, and a 
resource for election officials throughout the country regarding the 
administration of Federal elections. EAC issues this notice according 
to a policy adopted on September 18, 2008 that requires EAC to provide 
notice and an opportunity for public comment on, among other things, 
advisories being considered for adoption by the U.S. Election 
Assistance Commission.

DATES: Comments must be received by 5 p.m. EST on January 20, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted: Via e-mail at havainfo@eac.gov, 
via mail addressed to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, 1225 New 
York Ave, NW., Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20005, or by fax at 202/566-
3127. Commenters are encouraged to submit comments electronically and 
include ``Strategic Plan'' in the subject line, to ensure timely 
receipt and consideration.
    Person To Contact for Information: Bryan Whitener, Telephone: (202) 
566-3100.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The following is the complete text of the 
proposed Strategic Plan the EAC is seeking public comment on. The 
proposed strategic plan may also be viewed on the EAC Web site at 
http://www.eac.gov.

        U.S. Election Assistance Commission Draft Strategic Plan
                    [Fiscal Years: 2009 Through 2014]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Table of contents                        Page No.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Background..................................................           1
    Funding State Improvements to Elections.................           1
    Standards for Voting Systems............................           1
    Election Assistance Commission..........................           2
    Guiding Principles......................................           3
    The Planning Process....................................           4
VISION AND MISSION..........................................           5
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES........................................           6
GOAL 1--Communicate.........................................           6
GOAL 2--Fund and Oversee....................................           9
GOAL 3--Study, Guide, and Assist............................          12
GOAL 4--Test and Certify....................................          16
GOAL 5--Manage..............................................          19
EXTERNAL FACTORS THAT IMPACT ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE GOALS AND          21
 OBJECTIVES.................................................
APPENDICES..................................................          22
    1. Organization Chart...................................          22
    2. Stakeholders.........................................          23
    3. Summary of Goals, Objectives, & Measures.............          24
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Background

    In October 2002, Congress, with the leadership and overwhelming 
bipartisan support of the members of the U.S. House Committee on House 
Administration, passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). HAVA 
represents an unprecedented effort by Congress to enhance the 
administration of Federal elections through funding, guidance and 
policies.
    HAVA was not contemplated as a short-term or partial solution to 
the issues and problems with the administration of Federal elections 
that came to the forefront during the 2000 elections. The law 
recognized the need to invest in our election infrastructure and set 
out a comprehensive program of funding, guidance, and ongoing research 
that spans the course of many years.

Funding State Improvements to Elections

    The Congress initially appropriated approximately $3 billion for 
payments to states during fiscal years 2003 and 2004. These funds were 
authorized under three separate sections of HAVA. Section 101 funds may 
be used to improve the administration of elections for Federal office. 
Section 102 funds may be used to replace punch-card and lever-action 
voting systems. Section 251 funds may be used to (1) improve voting 
systems, (2) establish and implement statewide voter registration 
databases, (3) implement provisional voting, (4) provide information to 
the voting public in the polling place, and (5) otherwise improve the 
administration of elections for Federal office. Congress appropriated 
an additional $115 million of Section 251 funds in fiscal year 2008. 
Generally, the funds are available to states until expended.

Standards for Voting Systems

    A major provision of HAVA established minimum requirements for 
voting systems used in Federal elections. Each voting system must:
     Permit the voter to verify the selections made prior to 
casting the ballot;
     Permit the voter to change a selection prior to casting 
the ballot;
     Notify the voter when an overvote (making more than the 
permissible

[[Page 77635]]

number of selections in a single contest) occurs;
     Notify the voter of the ramifications of an overvote;
     Produce a permanent paper record that can be used in a 
recount or audit of an election;
     Provide accessibility to disabled voters;
     Provide foreign language accessibility in jurisdictions 
covered by Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act; and
     Meet the error rate standard established in the 2002 
Voting System Standards.

Election Assistance Commission

    To foster those programs and to promote and enhance voting for 
United States citizens, HAVA established the Election Assistance 
Commission (EAC). EAC is an independent bipartisan commission. Four 
full-time commissioners, appointed by the President and confirmed by 
the U.S. Senate, guide the EAC. Through the agency, the Federal 
government has assumed a role in the administration of Federal 
elections. Specifically, EAC is statutorily required to:
     Create a clearinghouse of information for election 
officials and the public.
     Distribute and monitor HAVA funds to states for election 
administration improvements.
     Conduct periodic studies of election administration 
issues.
     Establish best practices and guidelines on election 
administration for state and local election officials.
     Issue, and periodically review and modify, as necessary, 
voluntary voting system guidelines.
     Accredit voting system test labs and test and certify 
voting equipment.
     Develop requirements for voter registration form design 
for states.
     Provide Congress with a bi-annual report to assess the 
impact of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).
    HAVA also set up a Standards Board and the Board of Advisors to 
counsel EAC. In addition, the law established a Technical Guidelines 
Development Committee (TGDC) to assist EAC in the preparation of the 
voluntary voting system guidelines.
    EAC has 39 full-time employees and four part-time employees, 
including the four commissioners and their four special assistants. EAC 
is located in Washington, D.C., is managed by an Executive Director, 
and is organized (Appendix 1) to provide responsive service to its 
stakeholders (Attachment 2). Its budget for internal operations in 
fiscal year 2008 was $13,280,000.

Guiding Principles

    EAC is committed to:
     Bipartisan collaboration to serve the best interests of 
the American voters.
     Transparency in its work.
     Professionalism, excellence, and adherence to the highest 
level of performance standards for EAC staff and contractors.
     Accountability and integrity in the management and conduct 
of all EAC activities and programs.
     Careful stewardship of taxpayer dollars and overall fiscal 
responsibility.
     Timely performance of its duties.
     Performance and public service without regard to race, 
sex, religion, national origin, age, special needs, sexual orientation, 
gender identification, or political affiliation in everything it does.
     Thorough and efficient distribution of appropriate 
election administration information it gathers.

The Planning Process

    To meet the challenge of supporting the states and local 
governments in implementing HAVA reforms, EAC developed a strategic 
plan that provides the framework for how it will use its resources 
effectively. The plan lays out an approach to create a receptive and 
productive agency fully capable of the unique leadership role it has 
been given as a national clearinghouse, a manager of Federal financial 
assistance, a certifier of voting systems, and a resource for election 
officials throughout the country regarding the administration of 
Federal elections.
    The plan is a valuable opportunity for EAC to work together as a 
team to consider a collective strategic outlook. With the help of the 
Commissioners, a vision and mission were reconfirmed. EAC's senior 
management team then took on the task of identifying the critical 
issues facing EAC in the coming years and determined how best to meet 
them. The plan focuses on these issues and is intended to be the 
foundation from which to address issues that arise during fiscal years 
2009 through 2014. EAC is committed to thinking both critically about 
its niche and strategically at how to make improvements in crucial 
areas, and this plan embraces the next steps to further that effort. 
The senior management team identified five strategic goals which are 
described in detail in this document and summarized in Appendix 3.

Vision and Mission

Vision

    Lead election reform that reaffirms the right to vote and to have 
all eligible votes counted accurately.

Mission

    Assist the effective administration of Federal elections.

Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Communicate

    Communicate timely and accurate information on the effective 
administration of elections for Federal office and on the operations 
and services offered EAC.
    Increased interest in elections, new Federal funding, the rapid 
pace of change in election administration, and Congressional direction 
has led EAC to operate a national clearinghouse of election 
information. EAC obtains election information through in-house research 
and chartered studies and from other credible sources. EAC presents 
this information to the election community, the public, the media, and 
EAC employees principally through its Web site. Also, EAC must be 
responsive to valid inquiries about its programs and operations.
Outcome
    The Congress, Federal agencies, state and local election officials, 
and the public receive reliable, accurate, and non-partisan information 
about administering, conducting, and participating in Federal elections 
and how, where, and when Americans vote.
    Objective 1: Operate the EAC clearinghouse effectively.
    Means and strategies for accomplishing objective:
    (a) Set EAC policy for a Web-based clearinghouse that will (i) 
establish the physical description of the clearinghouse and (ii) 
describe the contents to be presented to the public.
    (b) Launch a public information initiative about the contents and 
uses of the EAC Clearinghouse.
    (c) Maintain current and relevant information on the EAC Web site.
    (d) Conduct regular information audits of all EAC divisions to 
update the Clearinghouse and Web site with EAC input.
Performance Measure
     Issue clearinghouse policy within 6 months.
     Post applicable information on the Web-based clearinghouse 
within 24 business hours of receipt.
     Distribute at least one e-mail update per month to 
stakeholders about the Web-based clearinghouse.
    Objective 2: Respond to outside requests about the EAC timely and 
accurately.
    Means and strategies for accomplishing objective:

[[Page 77636]]

    (a) Establish and implement policies and procedures for tracking 
requests, gathering information from EAC, responding to requests, 
verifying and documenting responses, and updating information for 
stakeholders.
    (b) Coordinate Commissioner and staff briefings for Members of 
Congress and Congressional staffers.
    (c) Maintain and make available to EAC staff an electronic Freedom 
of Information Act (FOIA) reading room and a database of media and 
Congressional inquiries and responses.
    (d) Maintain a physical FOIA reading room.
    (e) Provide (FOIA) training to EAC staff to improve response rates.
Performance Measure
     Issue policies and procedures concerning request process 
within 6 months.
     Distribute media and Congressional inquiry and response 
log to the EAC staff on a daily basis.
     Respond to FOIA requests in accordance with requirements.
     Respond to 75 percent of non-FOIA requests within 72 
hours.
    Objective 3: Convey the results of EAC operations and 
accomplishments.
    Means and strategies for accomplishing objective:
    (a) Identify technologies and other communication opportunities 
that will ensure rapid delivery of information to a wide variety of 
stakeholders.
    (b) Actively promote the EAC electronic newsletter to expand the 
stakeholder database.
    (c) Inform Members of Congress and Congressional staffers about EAC 
initiatives and programs in general and in their districts.
    (d) Edit EAC materials and deliverables to ensure their accuracy 
and consistency.
    (e) Produce speeches and talking points for commissioners and EAC 
staff that accurately capture EAC activities and output.
    (f) Create an atmosphere of creativity and customer service.
Performance Measure
     Provide regular updates about EAC activities and election 
administration issues to EAC employees.
     Produce an annual report that accurately captures EAC 
activities during the respective time period.
     Produce an annual FOIA report to chronicle requests and 
responses.
     Issue quarterly press releases summarizing EAC 
accomplishments.
     Provide regular briefings regarding EAC activities to 
Congressional staffers.
     Produce the annual report to the Congress by January 1 of 
each year for the preceding year ending September 30.
     Issue at least 12 EAC newsletters per year.
Program Evaluation
    To evaluate the program:
     Establish feedback mechanism to gain public input on 
effectiveness and relevance of Web-based clearinghouse.
     Conduct monthly information audits on Web-based clearing 
house to ensure content is accurate and updated.

Goal 2: Fund and Oversee

    Deliver and manage Federal funds effectively.
    For the first time, the Federal government has funded improvements 
to the voting process. EAC is responsible for the distribution and 
oversight of approximately $3 billion in payments to states and for 
other grant programs to improve Federal elections and gather election 
data. Most of the funding to States was used for purchasing new voting 
equipment that meets the standards in HAVA; establishing a computerized 
statewide voter registration list; educating voters about voting 
procedures, rights, and technology; training election officials, poll 
workers, and election volunteers; improving the accessibility and 
quantity of polling places; and otherwise improving the administration 
of elections for Federal office. EAC is responsible for the 
administration of these funds.
Outcome
    States and other recipients promptly and accurately receive Federal 
funds administered by EAC and use the funds appropriately to improve 
the administration of elections for Federal office.
    Objective 1: Accurately and timely disburse Federal financial 
assistance administered by EAC.
    Means and strategies for accomplishing objective:
    (a) Develop program manual, including rules of general 
applicability, for each Federal financial assistance program 
administered by the EAC.
    (b) Thoroughly review all grant applications to select appropriate 
recipients.
    (c) Thoroughly review requests for payments/state plans under all 
programs to help assure recipients use funds for appropriate purposes.
    (d) Timely publish state plans and amendments to state plans.
    (e) Timely disburse funds on the basis of requests for 
reimbursement, certifications, and/or amendments to state plans.
    (f) Recoup and redistribute unspent Section 102 funds.
Performance Measure
     Publish program manual by January 2009.
     Award grants within established timeframes.
     Submit state plans for publication in the Federal Register 
within 30 days of receipt of the plan.
     Submit payment requests to GSA with 10 days of receipt of 
acceptable requests/certifications.
     Recoup and redistribute unspent Section 102 funds by May 
2009
    Objective 2: Effectively monitor Federal financial assistance 
administered by the EAC.
    Means and strategies for accomplishing objective:
    (a) Include in Program Manual reporting requirements and monitoring 
procedures.
    (b) Timely review all financial and narrative reports submitted.
    (c) Follow up on anomalies in reports or on non-reporting entities.
    (d) Prepare a timely annual report to the Congress on State use of 
HAVA Section 251 funds (requirements payments).
    (e) Review audit reports to identify internal control weaknesses 
and questionable uses of Federal funds administered by the EAC.
    (f) Conduct sight visits of recipients for whom EAC has found 
significant problems in financial and/or narrative reports and/or in 
audit reports.
    (g) Timely negotiate indirect cost rates with state election 
agencies..
Performance Measures
     Send follow up letters to recipients regarding reporting 
anomalies or failure to file within 30 days of knowledge of such 
conditions.
     Resolve 100 percent of audit findings within established 
timeframes.
     Conduct site visits to at least three high priority 
grantees each year.
     Negotiate indirect cost rates within 30 days of receipt of 
acceptable indirect cost proposals.
     Issue the annual report to Congress on the expenditure of 
HAVA funds by July 15 of each year.
    Objective 3: Provide technical assistance and guidance on the 
management of Federal financial assistance administered by EAC to 
reduce the risk of inappropriate use of funds and accounting errors.
    Means and strategies for accomplishing objective:
    (a) Include in Program Manual guidance/references on use of funds, 
allowable costs, and managing funds.

[[Page 77637]]

    (b) Offer workshops and training sessions on management, use and 
reporting of Federal financial assistance administered by EAC.
Performance Measures
     Submit to the Commissioners all recommended policy and 
guidance concerning the administration of Federal financial assistance 
administered by the EAC within established timeframes.
     Offer at least one workshop per year.
     Respond to all inquires by recipients about the use and 
administration of funds in accordance with EAC requirements.
Program Evaluation
    Assess the results of (1) audits (EAC Office of Inspector General 
and State) of recipient expenditure of Federal financial assistance 
administered by EAC, (2) EAC monitoring visits, and (3) EAC reviews of 
recipient annual financial reports. Implement additional controls over 
EAC administration of Federal financial assistance, as appropriate, on 
the basis of the assessments.

Goal 3: Study, Guide, and Assist

    Identify and develop information on areas of pressing concern 
regarding the administration of elections for Federal office and issue 
recommended improvements, guidance, translations, and best practices as 
required by HAVA, and carry out responsibilities under the National 
Voter Registration Act (NVRA).
    HAVA mandates that the EAC conduct research on current election 
administration issues with the aim of promoting methods of voting and 
administering elections which will be the most ``convenient, 
accessible, and easy to use;'' ``will yield the most accurate, secure, 
and expeditious system for voting and tabulating election results;'' 
``will be nondiscriminatory;'' and ``will be efficient and cost-
effective.'' HAVA also requires that EAC produce guidelines and best 
practices for state use in implementing HAVA. HAVA also transfers from 
the Federal Election Commission to the EAC the responsibility for 
updating and maintaining the national mail voter registration 
application and for reporting on the impact of the NVRA on elections 
for Federal office.
Outcome
    As a result of this goal (1) the election community and other key 
stakeholders improve the administration of elections for Federal office 
on the bases of pertinent, impartial, timely, and high-quality 
information, recommendations, guides and other tools on election and 
voting issues and (2) eligible citizens use the mail voter registration 
application to register to vote, register with a political party, or 
report a change of name, address, or other information.
    Objective 1: Complete research on relevant issues that improve the 
administration of elections for Federal office and expeditiously report 
on critical administration subjects and election data.
    Means and strategies for accomplishing objective:
    (a) Analyze unfinished research mandated by HAVA, and develop and 
prioritize an inventory of ideas for potential new projects internally 
and on the basis of input from stakeholders.
    (b) Establish, based on the inventory, annual research plans for 
completing research projects by EAC and by contractors in order of 
priority. Present plan to Board of Advisors and Standards Board for 
information and comments only. Obtain Commissioners approval for the 
plan and inform the Congress of any mandated research that is no longer 
useful.
    (c) Monitor research projects; tracking progress, checking the 
accuracy of results, and preparing reports.
    (d) Prepare, on the basis of data collected, recommendations for 
improvements for the election community.
Performance Measures
     Complete inventory of potential projects by July 2009.
     Start 100 percent of annual planned and funded projects.
     Meet the milestones for the completion of contracted 
research projects in accordance with contract schedules and 
deliverables.
     Disseminate all completed research project reports to 
stakeholders.
     Establish, in fiscal year 2009, a baseline for measuring 
stakeholder use of EAC research products to improve the administration 
of elections for Federal office. In subsequent years, increase the 
percentage of stakeholder use of EAC research products.
    Objective 2: Identify and collect required and useful data on 
election administration practices and on voting methods and 
demographics and make recommendations for improving the quality of 
practices, methods, and data.
    Means and strategies for accomplishing objective:
    (a) Identify data required to be collected by law and data needed 
by the Congress, election officials, and other stakeholders.
    (b) Interact with state and local election data collection agencies 
and election associations to exchange information on data collection 
practices and identify ways to ensure data quality.
    (c) Amend EAC's Election Day survey to include the collection of 
data on new election administration topics and on changes in required 
and desirable data elements.
    (d) Recommend improvements to the data collection process to the 
Congress and issue reports presenting data required by the Uniformed 
and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act and EAC's Election Day 
Survey.
Performance Measure
     Establish a baseline in fiscal year 2009 on the accuracy 
and completeness of data reported by states in response to EAC surveys. 
Increase the accuracy and completeness of reported data in each of the 
succeeding years.
     Include recommendations to improve election administration 
and data to the Congress in the annual report on the Election Day 
survey.
     Issue required reports to the Congress by the dates 
required by law.
    Objective 3: Issue guides, translations and other tools that are 
timely and useful.
    Means and strategies for accomplishing objective:
    (a) Provide guidance to states concerning the proper implementation 
of the HAVA Title III requirements.
    (b) Develop and administer the EAC Language Accessibility Program 
to assist election officials in meeting the needs of limited English 
proficiency voters.
    (c) Develop guidelines in Native American Languages.
    (d) Develop and maintain A Voter's Guide to Federal Elections in 
Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.
    (e) Create interactive versions of the various Glossaries of Key 
Election Terminology on the EAC Web site.
    (f) Coordinate with the Department of Justice Voting Section to 
provide EAC language resources to jurisdictions required to meet the 
language minority requirements in Sections 203 and 404 of the Voting 
Rights Act.
    (g) Develop election management guidelines that can be easily 
adapted to suit an election jurisdiction's needs.
Performance Measures
     Complete guidance on HAVA Title III requirements by 
October 2010.
     Complete the Voters Guide to Federal Elections in Spanish, 
Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog by September 2009.

[[Page 77638]]

     Complete guidance for Native Americans by October 2010.
     Complete interactive glossaries and management guidelines 
by October 2011.
    Objective 4: Update and maintain a national mail voter registration 
application and report to the Congress as required by NVRA
    Means and strategies for accomplishing objective:
    (a) Implement procedures to improve and maintain the national mail 
voter registration application and to govern state requests for changes 
to the application.
    (b) Provide guidance to states concerning the proper implementation 
of the NVRA.
    (c) Translate the form into Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, 
Vietnamese, and Tagalog.
Performance Measures
     Publish regulations governing the administration of the 
application by December 2009.
     Process all accepted requests to change the mail voter 
registration form within prescribed timeframes.
     Issue the bi-annual report on the impact of NVRA by June 
30 of each odd-numbered year.
 Program Evaluation
    Develop an assessment tool to monitor election community acceptance 
of EAC recommendations and guides.

Goal 4: Test and Certify

    Build public confidence in elections by testing and certifying 
voting systems to improve system security, operation, and 
accessibility.
    Before the passage of HAVA, the Federal government was not involved 
in the testing of voting systems used in Federal elections. EAC's first 
step in instituting a Testing and Certification Program was to work 
with its advisory committees and the National Institute of Standards 
and Technology (NIST) to develop voluntary voting system guidelines 
against which voting systems will be evaluated. EAC completed the first 
iteration of the VVSG in 2005, and will regularly update the VVSG. In 
addition, EAC works with NIST to accredit laboratories to test voting 
equipment. Based on the tests of equipment and software conducted by 
laboratories, EAC will certify, decertify, or recertify voting systems, 
as appropriate.
Outcome
    Voting equipment operates more reliably and securely and is more 
accessible to the disabled. States use the EAC testing and 
certification program to ensure voting systems meet standards.
    Objective 1: Develop and update the voluntary voting system 
guidelines.
    Means and strategies for accomplishing objective:
    (a) Develop updated voluntary voting system guidelines in plain 
English that adequately address accuracy and reliability of voting 
systems and that are cost effective.
    (b) Develop and maintain testable, objective, and repeatable 
voluntary voting system test suites and (or) test methods.
    (c) Submit an updated draft of VVSG, prepared by the TGDC, to the 
Federal Register for public comment and hold public meetings with 
stakeholders on the proposed guidelines.
    (d) Consider comments on the draft TGDC version of the VVSG and 
prepare an EAC draft VVSG. Publish the EAC draft in the Federal 
Register for public comment.
    (e) Prepare, after consideration of comments, a final version of 
guidelines and present them at a public meeting for a vote of the 
Commissioners.
Performance Measure
     Produce updates to the VVSG no later than 2009 and 2012.
    Objective 2: Provide for the accreditation and revocation of 
accreditation of independent, non-federal laboratories qualified to 
test voting systems to Federal standards.
    Means and strategies for accomplishing objective:
    (a) Develop, implement, and maintain policies and procedures for 
the accreditation and revocation of accreditation of voting system test 
laboratories (VSTLs).
    (b) Collaborate with NIST's National Voluntary Laboratory 
Accreditation Program (NVLAP) to accredit laboratories and ensure 
compliance with accreditation requirements.
    (c) Implement a monitoring program to ensure the integrity of 
laboratories which test voting systems for Federal certification.
Performance Measure
     Complete accreditation reviews for all laboratories 
recommended to EAC by NIST and for all emergency actions within 90 
days.
     Test and document the results of the review of compliance 
with procedures by at least 100 percent of accredited laboratories 
every 2 years.
    Objective 3: Administer the testing, certification, 
decertification, and recertification of voting system hardware and 
software by accredited laboratories.
    Means and strategies for accomplishing objective:
    (a) Develop, implement, and maintain policies and procedures for 
the testing, certification, decertification, and recertification of 
voting system hardware and software by accredited VSTLs.
    (b) Implement the most recent voluntary voting system guidelines 
into the EAC's testing and certification program and all of its 
components.
    (c) Monitor, in accordance with Chapter 8 of the Voting System 
Testing and Certification Program Manual, EAC-certified voting systems 
to ensure that the systems continue to meet the requirements of the 
Federal standards to which they were certified.
    (d) Conduct field reviews in state and local jurisdictions of EAC 
certified voting systems to ensure the systems fielded (i) match the 
system certified by the EAC and (ii) meet the requirements of the 
Federal standards to which they were certified.
Performance Measure
     Test 100 percent of systems qualifying for testing.
     Conduct at least one review of a manufacturing facility of 
a registered manufacturer a least once every 4 years.
     Conduct field reviews for at least 50 percent of 
jurisdictions that volunteer for reviews. (Measures may be modified 
after EAC determines average number of volunteers.)
     Respond to requests for interpretations of voting system 
standards with 45 days. (Measures may be modified after EAC determines 
average number of requests.)
Program Evaluation
    Assess comments to Federal Register publications and results of EAC 
oversight reviews of laboratory testing and election system compliance 
with standards.

Goal 5: Manage

    Achieve organizational and management excellence.
    HAVA established the EAC to help implement mandated improvements to 
Federal elections. To that end, EAC will employ a variety of plans, 
resources, skills, processes, and technologies to ensure effective and 
efficient agency management.
Outcome
    EAC Commissioners and staff of the testing and certification, 
payments and grants, election administration improvement, research, 
administration, and legal programs proficiently carry out EAC's 
strategic objectives.

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    Objective--Implement a high performance organization
    Means and strategies for accomplishing goal:
    (a) Foster a leadership environment that inspires, motivates and 
guides employees toward the strategic goals; coaches, mentors, and 
challenges staff; provides needed training and sharing of knowledge; 
and, models high standards of honesty, integrity, trust, and respect 
for all individuals.
    (b) Establish an organization structure, management systems, and 
decision-making processes that improve coordination and cooperation 
across the EAC and that support the efficient accomplishment of goals 
and priorities.
    (c) Clarify roles and responsibilities of commissioners and staff.
    (d) Attract and maintain a high-performing workforce that is 
diverse and that includes those with disabilities through outreach, 
competitive compensation, meaningful training, pleasant work space, 
flexible work schedules, telework, and state-of-the-art equipment.
    (e) Obtain sufficient funds, plan activities, and budget resources 
to accomplish the goals and objectives of EAC.
    (f) Provide effective financial management to programs.
    (g) Provide effective legal support to program operations.
    (h) Monitor EAC division progress in meeting goals and objectives.
Performance Measure
     Meet annual performance measures.
     Obtain a clean audit opinion on agency financial 
statements within 2 years of the initial statement preparation.
     Institute an internal integrated budget and financial 
management system within 6 months.
     Implement 90 percent of OIG audit recommendations within 
agreed upon timeframes.
Program Evaluation
    Implement an effective internal control assessment process that 
meets the requirements of Office of Management and Budget Circular A-
123, Management's Responsibility for Internal Controls. Promptly 
implement agreed upon recommendations contained in EAC's annual audit 
of its Performance and Accountability Report.

External Factors That Impact Accomplishment of the Goals and Objectives

    EAC has an opportunity to remain a leader in the election community 
and have positive name recognition outside of the Federal government. 
However, the agency's ability to accomplish such an end is dependent 
upon a number of external factors that are not all within the agency's 
control.

Acceptance by the Election Community

    HAVA strictly limits EAC's regulatory authority to that held by the 
Federal Election Commission (FEC) over the NVRA. As such, a significant 
number of EAC's research and guidance is voluntary. It is critical to 
have state and local election officials adopt and apply these voluntary 
principles if EAC's efforts are to succeed.

Budget

    Adequate funding for the maintenance of staff and support functions 
is essential for attainment of EAC goals and strategic objectives.

Legislative Changes

    Statutory changes to either the agency's enabling legislation or to 
other statutes that directly impact the agency could affect the EAC's 
ability to meet its goals and strategic objectives.

Technology

    Developments in technology that are rapidly changing our world 
could provide both new opportunities and new risks for EAC.
BILLING CODE 6820-KF-P

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Appendix 2 Stakeholders

Government Entities With Oversight & Decision-Making Authority 
Regarding EAC

White House Staff
Members of Congress
Office of Management & Budget

Groups Directly Affected by EAC Activities That Also Impact EAC 
Decision-Making

Chief Election Authorities in Each State
Local Election Officials
EAC Standards Board
EAC Board of Advisors
EAC Technical Guidelines Development Committee

Other Government Entities With HAVA Implementation Responsibilities or 
Interest in HAVA

Federal Agencies
Governors (Mayor in Washington, DC)
State Legislatures (City Council in Washington, DC)

Non-Government Groups Affected by HAVA Implementation

Professional Groups for Election Officials
Professional Groups Representing State & Local Government
Election Equipment & Services Vendors
National Political Parties

Other Groups Interested in EAC Activities & HAVA Implementation

U.S. Citizens here and abroad
Voter Advocacy Groups
Universities and Academics
Think Tanks
International Organizations/Interests
State and Local Election Officials

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Thomas R. Wilkey,
Executive Director, U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
[FR Doc. E8-30195 Filed 12-18-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6820-KF-C