The 2000 presidential election propelled America's problems with our
elections into the national spotlight in an unprecedented way.
Americans, night after night, watched news stories exposing the many
problems that are routine in elections but that receive little
attention: confusing ballots that lead people to mark their vote for
the wrong candidate, voter suppression aimed at minorities through
voter registration purges, and weary election officials trying to
discern voters’ intent on ambiguously marked punch card ballots.
The federal Department of Veterans Affairs for months has been
embroiled in a controversy over its prohibition on voter registration
drives in veterans' facilities. Now 10 Secretaries of State and the
Attorney General of Connecticut have stepped into the maelstrom, demanding that the VA reverse its policy.
Late last month, Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz and
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal attempted to register voters at the
Veterans Affairs Hospital in West Haven. They were prevented by staff
from registering voters inside the facility, but they were able to
register a dozen veterans as they were leaving. One newly registered
voter is 92-year-old WWII veteran Martin Onieal.
Voter suppression is growing rapidly in America today.Over half of states now have voter ID requirements more stringent than that required for first time voters in federal elections.Several states are clamping down on voter registration drives or are considering proof of citizenship requirements.
Maintaining accurate voter rolls and ensuring that all eligible voters who register to vote actually make it onto voting rolls are two of the most important functions of election administration.If an eligible voter cannot vote because his name doesn't appear on the voter roll used in an election, the problem will not be addressed by the federal guarantee of a provisional ballot. Such a ballot cannot register a person to vote, it can only preserve a ballot in the case the voter rolls at the precinct are mistaken or the
On April 2nd, the Maine Senate passed a National Popular Vote bill, LD 1744, that would guarantee that the Presidential candidate who receives the most votes in all 50 states wins the Presidency.The
bill is an interstate compact, which would take effect only when states
possessing a majority of the membership of the Electoral College (that
is 270 of 538 electoral votes) enact similar statutes.
Interest in the presidential election has been extremely strong
throughout the primary season. As a result many states have experienced
voter turnout that is significantly higher than past elections. This
trend has been especially striking among young voters who have doubled and tripled their rates of participation in many states. Enabling this
turnout have been a number of reforms, from early voting to election
day registration to mail-in voting procedures that have encouraged
We've seen in recent weeks the quadrennial year complaints about the
disproportionate effects that a handful of states like Iowa and New
Hampshire have on the nominating process, but that is just a shadow of
the far larger distortion of our democracy due to the Electoral