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Rescheduled Elections

Appeal Brief Appeal Letter

Appeal Brief

DisasterFEMA 1603 &1
ApplicantLouisiana Department of State
Appeal TypeSecond
PA ID#000-UE8TP-00
PW ID#Project Worksheets 707, 1006, and 4169
Date Signed2008-08-13T04:00:00
Citation: FEMA-1603-DR-LA and FEMA-1607-DR-LA; Louisiana Department of State,
PWs 707 (FEMA-1607-DR-LA), 1006 and 4169 (FEMA-1603-DR-LA)
Cross-reference: Temporary Facilities

Summary: Prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, elections were scheduled in Orleans,
Vermillion and Calcasieu Parishes and were postponed as a result of the hurricanes.
The Applicant submitted PW 1006 to address costs of replacement ballots for rescheduled elections ($3,830); PW 4169 was submitted to address costs of rescheduling elections and setting up temporary polling precincts in Orleans Parish ($1,709,573); PW 707 was submitted to address costs of rescheduling elections and setting up temporary polling precincts in Vermilion and Calcasieu Parishes ($8,757). FEMA did not approve the PWs because reimbursement of election costs is not an eligible expense.
The Applicant submitted its first appeal on June 14, 2006, stating that the costs incurred to reschedule elections in several Louisiana parishes, as well as costs to restore the election process, were the same types of expenses that FEMA reimbursed in another disaster. FEMA denied the Applicant’s first appeal based on the determination that the costs of conducting rescheduled elections are not eligible because they are indirect costs that cannot be directly tied to the performance of eligible work, and that the Applicant’s actions in setting up temporary polling precincts did not meet the eligibility criteria regarding temporary relocation facilities. In its September 2007 second appeal letters, the Applicant reiterated its original claims in the first appeal. It also stated that FEMA funded PWs for costs associated with rescheduled elections in three previous disasters. Support documents included copies of PWs from FEMA-1391-DR-NY, FEMA-1539-DR-FL, and FEMA-1604-DR-MS, copies of the State of Louisiana’s emergency election plan and the Governor’s executive order to postpone and reschedule elections, rescheduled election costs estimate worksheets, copies of employee payroll records.

Issues: 1. Do the costs associated with conducting rescheduled elections meet the eligibility criteria for Public Assistance?
2. Are the costs associated with establishing temporary polling precincts eligible for Public Assistance?

Findings: 1. No.

2. Yes.

Rationale: Stafford Act Section 403; Disaster Assistance Policy 9523.3, Provision of Temporary Relocation FacilitiesAppeal Letter
August 13, 2008

Colonel Thomas Kirkpatrick (Retired)
State Coordinating Officer
Governor’s Office of Homeland Security
and Emergency Preparedness
415 North 15th Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Re: Second Appeal–Louisiana Department of State, PA ID 000-UE8TP-00, Rescheduled Elections, FEMA-1607-DR-LA Project Worksheet (PW) 707, and FEMA-1603-DR-LA,
PWs 1006 and 4169.

Dear Colonel Kirkpatrick:

This is in response to three letters from your office dated November 19, 2007, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the Louisiana Department of State (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) decision denying reimbursement of costs associated with rescheduled elections in various Louisiana parishes that were postponed as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The appeals have been consolidated because of the similarity of the issues.

Prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, elections were scheduled in Orleans, Vermillion and Calcasieu Parishes but were postponed as a result of the hurricanes. Primary and general elections for Orleans Parish were originally scheduled for February 4, 2006, and March 4, 2006. Vermillion and Calcasieu Parishes primary and general elections were originally scheduled for October 15, 2005, and November 12, 2005. FEMA prepared PW 1006 (FEMA-1603-DR-LA) for $3,830 for costs of reprinting ballots for rescheduled elections. PW 4169 (FEMA-1603-DR-LA) was prepared for $1,709,573 for costs of conducting rescheduled elections in Orleans Parish, including setting up temporary polling precincts. PW 707 (FEMA-1607-DR-LA) was prepared for $8,758 for costs of conducting rescheduled elections in Vermilion and Calcasieu Parishes, including setting up temporary polling precincts. FEMA did not approve funds for the three PWs because it determined that reimbursement of election costs is not an eligible expense.
The Applicant submitted its first appeal on June 14, 2006, stating that the costs incurred to reschedule elections in several Louisiana parishes, as well as costs to restore the election process, were the same types of expenses that FEMA reimbursed in another disaster. FEMA denied the Applicant’s first appeal based on the determination that the costs of conducting rescheduled elections are not eligible because they are indirect costs that cannot be directly tied to the performance of eligible work, and that the Applicant’s actions in setting up temporary polling precincts did not meet the eligibility criteria regarding temporary relocation facilities.
In its second appeal letters dated September 20, 2007, and September 24, 2007, the Applicant reiterated its original claims in the first appeal. It also stated that FEMA funded PWs for costs associated with rescheduled elections in three previous disasters. Support documents included copies of PWs from FEMA-1391-DR-NY, FEMA-1539-DR-FL, and FEMA-1604-DR-MS, copies of the State of Louisiana’s emergency election plan, the Governor’s executive order to postpone and reschedule elections, rescheduled election costs estimate worksheets, and copies of employee payroll records.

Planning for and carrying out election activities is the responsibility of State and local governments. FEMA does not have any statutory role in preparing for, or carrying out elections, nor does FEMA manage any programs that provide assistance specifically for elections.

I have reviewed all information submitted with the appeal and have determined that the costs associated with rescheduled elections do not meet the criteria of and are ineligible for funding under the Public Assistance Program. Ineligible costs include reprinting ballots, administrative operations, food service, signage, supplies, postage, telecommunications, force account labor (regular time and overtime), force account equipment, rental equipment, travel expenses, electronic and print media ads, pre-election classes, hotel/motel rooms. However, costs associated with disaster-related damaged equipment and supplies may be eligible, subject to verification of those damages and documentation of expenses.
Because facilities where the polling precincts were located were damaged as a result of the hurricanes, costs associated with establishing temporary polling precincts are eligible for Public Assistance Program funding in accordance with Section 403 of the Stafford Act and Disaster Assistance Policy 9523.3, Provision of Temporary Relocation Facilities. Section 403 authorizes temporary facilities for essential community services. Therefore, I am partially approving the Applicant’s second appeal. By copy of this letter, I am requesting that the Regional Administrator take appropriate action to implement this decision.

Please inform the Applicant of my decision. My determination constitutes the final decision on these matters as set forth in 44 CFR §206.206.

Sincerely,
/s/
Carlos J. Castillo
Assistant Administrator
Disaster Assistance Directorate

cc: William Peterson
Regional Administrator
Last updated February 4, 2020