ELECTION PROCESS STILL FLAWED SAY EXPERTS by Roxanne Escobales10/18/06
Twenty days before the November 7th general election, a group of experts warned that voting policies have not improved enough since the 2000 election fiasco. Elections experts involved with the governmentâ€™s Election Assistance Commission and former secretaries of state held a press conference by phone to spread the word about their concerns.
The Reverend DeForest Soaries is a former Secretary of State for New Jersey and the former chair of the Election Assistance Commission, or EAC.
The Help the Vote Act of 2002, or HAVA, established the EAC, which formed in 2003 with 1-point-5 billion dollars from the government. It received a total of 3 billion dollars. But Soaries says the commission lacked political support and that funding was insufficient.
ACT: 10:12ish Soaries insufficient funds.
The former vice-chair of the EAC Ray Martinez said he left the commission two months ago to work for the Pew Center on the States because it provided a much better research budget than the EAC.
While todayâ€™s group of elections experts shared concerns over the relatively new electronic voting equipment, they highlighted many other issues in the elections process, such as voter registration. Miles Rapoport is a former secretary of state for Connecticut and the president of Demos think tank.
Rapoport also said that the government needs to be more pro-active in restoring civil rights to vote to convicted felons.
Tova Wang is a national expert and former staff member of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform co-chaired by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. Wang listed a host of factors that contribute to what could be a worrying election season. These include flaws with absentee voting, voter registration, voter identification requirements and the new era of voting machines.
ACT: â€œeven in 2006â€?
The panel of elections experts said voting has declined for the past 30 years, and the most critical issue for the November 7th election is to encourage the widest possible voter participation.