Election Reform Can't Wait

Publication: National Journal

Author: Eliza Newlin Carney

11/10/2008 - While not disastrous, the problems with the nation's voting system exposed this year are tenacious, and federal and state officials can no longer afford to ignore them.

It's only luck that the long lines, machine breakdowns and registration disputes that bogged down voting in Ohio, Pennsylvania and elsewhere did not land the election in court. Had President-elect Barack Obama's victory margin been less decisive, ugly legal disputes could have erupted on any number of fronts.

In setting out to fix America's broken voting system yet again, lawmakers should think both small and big. That is, Congress and the incoming Obama administration should immediately correct glaring problems with the 2002 Help America Vote Act. These include the law's unworkable requirement that voter identifying numbers match with federal records, and its failure to set uniform rules for counting provisional ballots.

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"I think you're going to see both continuing experimentation and mandates, whether it be from Congress or the state legislatures, to move to a more permanent and portable registration system," said Michael Caudell-Feagan, director of Making Voting Work, a project of the Pew Center on the States.

Read the full article Election Reform Can't Wait on the National Journal's Web site.

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