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Clinton, Boxer pushing e-voting bill in Senate

Their measure mandates a voter-verified paper ballot for e-voting machines

By Todd R. Weiss
February 28, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - A wide-ranging bill that, among other things, would mandate a voter-verified paper ballot for every vote cast in electronic voting machines has been introduced by Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). The Count Every Vote Act, they said, is needed to address shortcomings related to existing e-voting technology.
The legislation, co-sponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) and introduced earlier this month, would also ensure access to voter verification for all citizens, including non-English-speaking voters, illiterate voters and voters with disabilities.
It mandates that verified paper ballots would become the official ballot record in case of a recount; establishes uniform standards for provisional ballots; calls on the Federal Election Assistance Commission (FEC) to issue standards that ensure uniform access to voting machines; and requires the FEC to make sure that trained election personnel are available in every community.
The bill also seeks to bolster security measures for e-voting machines; designates Election Day a federal holiday; mandates the availability of voting machines with audio and picture capabilities for people who have sight disabilities or who can't read; restores voting rights to convicted felons who have completed their prison time, probation and/or parole; and creates a way for voters to register at their polling place and vote on Election Day.
If enacted, the measure requires that the new provisions be in place in time for the 2006 elections.
"The smooth functioning of our democracy depends on voters having faith in the fairness and accuracy of our voting system, and the Count Every Vote Act is an important step toward restoring this covenant," Clinton said in a statement. "We must be able to easily and accurately count every vote so that every vote counts."
The bill is needed to ensure the accuracy of U.S. elections, Tubbs said in a statement. "This legislation seeks to combat the tremendous voting irregularities that plagued both the 2000 and 2004 elections," she said. "If, in fact, we see it is our obligation to secure democracy around the world, to monitor and oversee free and fair elections in other countries, most recently in Iraq, then we must ensure, protect and guarantee the right to vote right here at home."
Spokesmen for Clinton and Boxer couldn't be reached today.
Earlier this month, another group of U.S. lawmakers introduced a bill that would require electronic touch-screen voting machines to allow for a voter-verifiable paper trail (see story). That measure, the Voting Integrity and Verification Act, would require printed ballots that voters could check over after they use an electronic voting



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