Report 2012-112 Recommendation 2 Responses

Report 2012-112: Office of the Secretary of State: It Must Do More to Ensure Funds Provided Under the Federal Help America Vote Act Are Spent Effectively (Release Date: August 2013)

Recommendation #2 To: Secretary of State, Office of the

To comply with federal requirements for record retention, the Office should revise its record retention policy for long-term federal awards such as HAVA.

1-Year Agency Response

Based on its review of OMB Circular A-102 (Common Rule) and Code of Federal Regulations (105-71.142 - Retention and access requirements for records), and after consulting with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the Secretary of State (SOS) continues to believe the current record retention policy meets or exceeds the federal requirements. However, the SOS does see merit in the State Auditor's recommendation regarding retaining all books and records until the agency submits its final expenditure report. Thus, the SOS has implemented a policy to retain all records for three years following the submittal of the final expenditure report for all HAVA funds.

  • Completion Date: April 2014
  • Response Date: August 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


6-Month Agency Response

The SOS continues to disagree with the recommendation to revise its record retention policy and maintains its position that its current policy meets or exceeds the federal requirements. However, the SOS is continuing to review the applicable federal requirements to ensure full and robust compliance and will revise its policy if necessary or appropriate.

  • Estimated Completion Date: August 2014
  • Response Date: February 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

We are skeptical as to whether the SOS intends to implement our recommendation given its disagreement with our audit finding. Nevertheless, the SOS recently hired a new chief for its management services division, who is planning to determine whether to implement our recommendation.


60-Day Agency Response

The SOS continues to disagree with the recommendation to revise its record retention policy and maintains its position that its current policy meets or exceeds the federal requirements. However, the SOS is reviewing the applicable federal requirements to ensure full and robust compliance and will revise its policy if necessary or appropriate.

  • Estimated Completion Date: February 2014
  • Response Date: October 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

We disagree that the Office's current record retention policy meets or exceeds federal requirements. Federal regulations require that the Office keep financial and programmatic records for three years following the submittal of its final expenditure report. The Office has yet to fully spend HAVA funds, and as a result, has yet to submit a final expenditure report. Further, the federal Election Assistance Commission has issued guidance informing states that the record retention period may extend several years as the initial award of funds is often spent over many years. Consequently, we stand by our recommendation for the Office to modify its record retention practices


All Recommendations in 2012-112

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.


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