To avoid a repeat of the voting problems that plagued Florida and other states in the 2000 presidential election, top state election officials want statewide uniformity in voting equipment, poll worker training and ballots.
A state-by-state guide to improving elections was adopted by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) at NASS's annual meeting in mid-July.
The 60-page document, which includes an extensive list of voting and registration practices around the country, indicates the secretaries share the same views as election directors and lawmakers in their states. They want provisional ballots and better registration procedures, money for new machines, and no federal mandates.
Most of all, however, they want to keep their unique systems for elections in each state to reflect the needs of their populations, the secretaries said.
"This is not going to give recommendations," said New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron. "This [document] allows election officials in each state to see what exists in other states. By looking at what exists, they can determine what is needed."
The report nonetheless makes a series of suggestions, or best practices, including:
NASS leaders, including Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh, the organization's incomping president , want the federal government to allow states to retain their historic control over elections. They face a challenge from civil rights groups, labor leaders and disability-rights advocates who say the states have created an unfair system that selects some for disenfranchisement.