The Help America Vote Act at 5

Nov 29, 2007

In the five years since the passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), election administration has, predictably, changed dramatically. From voter registration to voting systems to safeguards at the polls, the Act designed to address the ills of voting in 2000 has, in some respects, accomplished its objectives.

Citizens who arrive at polling places believing themselves to be registered can cast provisional ballots if their names are not on precinct rosters. Voting machines accessible for people with disabilities are deployed nationwide, while polling places have also become more accessible. Registration databases are state-controlled, with more effective links to state agencies for faster record updating and wired between jurisdictions for vastly improved tracking of voters.

But concerns about America’s voting system persist, despite the passage of HAVA, and despite the largest federal investment in elections in history.

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