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U.S. Flag and Missouri State Flag Kit Bond, Sixth Generation Missourian
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Read the History of the Election Reform Battle

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Bond Celebrates President's Signing of Anti-Vote Fraud Bill

Election Reform Bill signing ceremony at the White House

U.S. Senator Kit Bond today celebrated the signing of the historic Help America Vote Act passed by the House and Senate earlier this month. Bond, as a key negotiator on the Republican side, attended the signing ceremony at the White House, during which the President thanked him for his hard work.

"This is a great day for proponents of clean and fair elections," said Bond. "This new law will achieve what my goal has been all along � to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat."

Bond, outraged over vote fraud in St. Louis, brought the national spotlight to Missouri's own vote fraud problems during the 2000 elections. "The 2000 election opened the eyes of many Americans to the flaws and failures of our election machinery, our voting systems, and even how we determine what a vote is. We learned of dogs registering to vote, hanging chads and inactive lists. We discovered our military's votes were mishandled and lost. We learned of legal voters turned away, while dead voters cast ballots. We discovered that many people voted twice, while too many weren't even counted once," said Bond.

For Senator Bond, the greatest victory is that the new law strengthens anti-vote fraud provisions, which he has fought for since the 2000 election debacle. The anti-vote fraud provisions include the following:

  • States will be required to maintain a statewide voter registration list;

  • Mail-in registration cards will now require applicants specifically to affirm their American citizenship;

  • New voters who choose to register by mail must provide proof of identity at some point in the process, whether at initial registration, when they vote in person or by mail. Among the kinds of acceptable forms of identification: utility bill, government check, bank statement, or drivers license. In lieu of the individual providing proof of identity, states may also electronically verify an individual's identity against existing state databases;

  • The bill makes it a federal crime to conspire to commit voter fraud;

  • Voters who do not appear on a registration list must be allowed to cast a provisional ballot. Voters without proper identification are also allowed to vote provisionally. But no provisional ballot will be counted until it is properly verified as a legal vote under state law;

  • If a poll is held open beyond the time provided by state law, votes cast after that time would be provisional and held separately;

  • Finally, voters will be required to include either their driver's license number or the last four digits of their social security number on their voter registration form.

Now that it has been signed, the Help America Vote Act also provides immediate funding for some of its reforms. The first installment of funds will be made to the states within 45 days. Overall the law provides $3.9 billion in funding over the next 5 years to help states and localities improve and update their voting systems. In addition to providing this financial help, specific minimum requirements for the voting systems are provided to ensure that the machinery meets minimum error rates, and that voters are given the opportunity to correct any errors that they have made prior to their vote being cast.

This bill also provides funding to help ensure the disabled have access to the polling place and that the voting system is fully accessible to those with disabilities.

Also, a new Election Administration Commission will be created to be a clearinghouse for the latest technologies and improvements, as well as the agency who will be responsible for funneling the federal funds to states and localities.

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