Dan Tokaji's Blog
Professor Dan Tokaji
Election reform, the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, and related topics -- with special attention to the voting rights of people of color, non-English proficient citizens, and people with disabilities

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Equal Vote
Monday, July 25
 
The Century Foundation's Report on Election Reform
The Century Foundation today released a new report on election reform, entitled Balancing Access and Integrity. The report is the product of a working group on state election reform, on which I served along with Tova Wang of the Century Foundation, Guy-Uriel Charles of the University of Minnesota Law School, Ned Foley of Moritz, Sam Isaacharoff of Columbia Law School, Martha Kropf of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, and Roy Schotland of Georgetown.

The report examines how the Help America Vote Act has changed the country's election system, including the unforeseen problems that the Act's implementation created. Among the report's recommendations are:
- in the area of voter registration, states should promulgate clear rules for what missing information will be the basis for disqualification, and should implement a system in which voters get a receipt and "tracking number" when they register,

- voters who arrive at the polls without HAVA-required identification be given at least three days to produce this information,

- the provisional ballots of those appearing at any precinct within the county of residence be counted for countywide, statewide, and presidential races,

- statewide voter registration databases search for "near matches," so that voters' identities can be verified in advance of elections, notwithstanding transposed characters and other minor discrepancies, and

- states not expand voter identification at this time, and those that do require such identification should make it available at the state's expense.
We believe it to be the first comprehensive assessment of what states can do to improve the administration of their elections, in the wake of the 2004 election, and hope that its recommendations are ones on which bipartisan consensus will be possible. Comments are welcome!

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Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University