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February 17, 2005
Legislation will Build on Help America Vote Act, Make it Easier to Vote, Harder to Cheat
U.S. Senators Kit Bond and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) today introduced the Voter Protection Act of 2005, legislation that builds upon the progress made by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The Senators stressed that this legislation will make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.
"Our goal should be elections that are free of suspicion, doubt and cynicism about the results. There are steps that remain to be taken to ensure that elections are conducted in a sound and secure manner so that the integrity of the ballot box remains beyond doubt. These simple steps will begin to clean up the mess created in the registration process while taking away what remains of the enticements to game the system," said Bond.
The Help America Vote Act of 2002, on which Bond and McConnell were the lead Senate Republican sponsors, made significant improvements to the voting process by imposing minimum standards for equipment, registration and provisional voting backed up by an unprecedented $3 billion of federal funds to pay for them. The legislation introduced today will clarify the previous bill and try to alleviate some of the administrative burdens placed on election workers.
Key provisions of the bill require:
Photo ID to be presented at the polling place - with grants to states to provide free photo identifications.
States to sync their databases with each other to remove duplicate registrants and allow the use of social security numbers to facilitate this goal.
Voter registration forms must be complete to be accepted -- affirming the registrant´┐Żs citizenship.
Forms from voter registration drives must be submitted within 3 days
after the registrant signs them.
Polling sites to have lists of those who already voted and those who requested an absentee ballot.
Election officials to clean their lists of non-voters.
Absentee ballots are returned by Election Day.
States to determine how provisional ballots are counted.
Drivers license number, last 4 digits of social security number or photo ID to get absentee ballot.
Pilot program for use of indelible ink at polling places to signify that an individual has voted. States can apply for grants to participate in the program.
Penalties for individuals who pay someone to register to vote and for those who destroy property with intent to impede the act of voting are also part of the Voter Protection Act.