(Hmmm, interesting… – promoted by atdleft)
Senator Feinstein introduced a bill Friday that could dramatically change our election process. So regardless of what the House passes (most of their bills are seriously flawed) there may be some chance for meaningful reforms may pass this year (or am I dreaming).
Many of you have seen the series I wrote on the FL-13 18,000 missing Congressional votes. This bill (in theory) would solve many of the problems in counting those votes and the legal process after an election in securing a valid vote count.
Of course introducing a bill is not the same as passing a bill, and the Republicans have a vested interest in our current broken system. The election equipment companies also do not want anyone interfering with their current corrupt system.
Bill summary and co-sponsors follow. FYI: I am not involved in any way with the Senators office. Cross posted from dKos.
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) have introduced legislation to help ensure the accuracy of vote counts in federal elections and institute important new reforms in the administration of elections. Other cosponsors include Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Barack Obama (D-IL), Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Bernard Sanders (I-VT).
The Bill summary (I have highlighted the parts that excite me the most):
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein
Ballot Integrity Act of 2007
May 24, 2007
Immediately bans the purchase of any new direct recording election voting systems that do not provide an accessible, durable permanent voter-verified paper ballot.
Establishes a $600 million grant program ($300 million in FY2008 and FY2009) to help states purchase voting systems that produce an accessible, durable, permanent paper ballot that can be verified by the voter and changed by the voter before the vote is finalized and help fund audits by the States. (funds are retroactive for costs incurred in 2007)
Establishes a $3 million competitive grant program in FY2008 for the development of an electronic voting system that provides a voter-verified paper record and also provides full accessibility for the disabled community.
Requires that all voting systems used in federal elections beginning in 2010 have a voter-verified paper ballot, which is the true record in the event of an audit or recount.
Helps guarantee the vote count by requiring states to audit the electronic tallies with a hand count of paper ballots in a public, transparent, random sampling of 2 percent of the state’s precincts. (2010)
Requires that every voting place be supplied with emergency paper ballots to offer voters if voting systems break down or other problems cause long delays. (2008)
Requires that voting system software be available for inspection and analysis by state election officials and independent technological experts certified by the Election Assistant Commission. (2008)
Prohibits wireless communication devices in voting systems, which are vulnerable to fraud and prohibits voting systems to be connected to the internet. (2008)
Requires states to establish a system to monitor the chain of custody of voting systems and software leading up to the election. (2008)
Prohibits conflicts of interest involving vendors and testing labs by halting direct payments between the vendors and labs and requiring the Election Assistance Commission to collect fees from the vendors and then independently select the labs that would do the testing. (2008)
Campaign Activities of Election Officials: Prohibits chief state election officials from serving on political campaigns of federal candidates, publicly supporting federal candidates or soliciting contributions for federal candidates. (2008)
Election Observers: Grants all official, legitimate domestic and international election observers access to the election process, provided that they accept election rules, do not interfere with the election process, respect the secrecy of the ballot and are accredited by the EAC. (2008)
Third Party Voter Registration: Prohibits burdensome limits on third-party voter registration efforts, but allows States to protect against possible fraud. (2008)
Poll Worker Training: Requires states to ensure that each person who works in a polling place during an election for public office receives training on state election procedures. (2008)
Sets Purging Guidelines: Requires states to provide public notice before any Federal election of all names that have been removed from the voter registration list; and prohibits removing any individual from the voter registration list unless the individual is first provided notice in a uniform and nondiscriminatory manner that is prescribed by the Election Assistant Commission. (2008)
Absentee Voting: Requires states to permit any person who is otherwise qualified to vote in an election for federal office to vote absentee without having to provide excuses such as vacation or away on business to the jurisdiction. (2008)
Minimum Required Voting Equipment: Directs Election Assistance Commission to set guidelines for states to provide sufficient voting equipment and election resources at polling places to avoid turning away voters because of long lines. (2010)
Counting Provisional Ballots: Requires states to develop, according to guidelines established by the Election Assistance Commission, a timely process for counting provisional ballots and to count them without regard to the location at which the voter cast the provisional ballot. (2008)
Military and Overseas Voters: Makes it easier for overseas and military voters to send in absentee ballot requests, absentee ballots and voter registration forms by prohibiting states from refusing to accept ballots and registration forms due to non-essential requirements. (2008)
Senator Feinstein Press Release
Let’s hope that the details confirm my initial positive read on this bill; and that they do not have to give much away (if anything) in the conference committee.