[EM] Congressmen Propose Electoral System Review

DEMOREP1 at aol.com DEMOREP1 at aol.com
Thu Nov 16 12:47:55 PST 2000

D- Will the whole indirect minority rule gerrymander/ plurality structure of 
the U.S. Congress and each State Legislature be looked at (in addition to the 
Electoral College gerrymander)  ???     Do not hold your breath.

$ Billions for pork barrel schemes-- pennies for modern election equipment ???

Congressmen Propose Electoral System Review 

.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (Nov. 16) - Two congressmen are proposing a broad review of the 
American electoral process, one of numerous ideas arising out of Congress in 
the wake of the presidential election standoff that has brought legislative 
work to a halt. 

Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Jim Leach, R-Iowa, introduced legislation 
Wednesday to form a bipartisan 12-member commission to recommend how best to 
ensure the integrity of future federal elections. 

The panel would look into such issues as the rationale for the Electoral 
College, voter registration, mail-in balloting, voting technology, ballot 
design, weekend voting and campaign finance reform. 

``It's time we gather constitutional scholars and election experts together 
to review the electoral process and identify areas that warrant reform in 
order to avoid the confusion that we're encountering this year,'' DeFazio 

President Clinton agreed Thursday that election reforms may grow out of the 
ballot dispute in Florida. 

``I think there will be a lot of pressure to improve the form of ballots and 
the methods of voting and have more clear standards around the country,'' 
Clinton said in Brunei, where he is attending an economic summit. 

The uncertainty over the presidential winner hit home in Congress, where the 
House and Senate agreed this week to extend the lame-duck session with a 
three-week recess. There was consensus between the parties that differences 
cannot be resolved this year without knowing who will be in the White House 
next year. 

Meanwhile, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas, at the request of some 
Republicans, has prepared a two-page memo about the House role in the 
Electoral College process, said his spokesman, Jonathan Baron. Republican 
aides also are researching legal precedents for challenging electors. 

But DeLay does not expect or want the House to take any extraordinary action, 
Baron said. 

``Mr. DeLay's purpose in response to members' inquiries is to ensure they 
have the knowledge they need to fulfill their constitutional obligations and 
to discuss the electoral college accurately,'' he said. ``That's where it 
starts, that's where it ends.'' 

Also on Wednesday, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., asked the General Accounting 
Office, the investigative wing of Congress, to examine state election laws 
and practices and how they compare in minimizing fraud, error and 
irregularities. She also asked the GAO to look into the feasibility of voting 
over the Internet. 

Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania proposed this week 
establishment of a commission to study ways to ensure speedy and accurate 
reporting of election results, including technology to computerize vote 
counting and the effectiveness of voting by mail. 

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said he will introduce legislation in January 
to pay for a study by the Federal Election Commission on alternative voting 
methods. He said the FEC should look into such areas as online voting, voting 
by mail, computerized voting machines and expanded voting hours. 

His bill also would create a matching grant program to give states the 
financial incentive to implement new voting methods. 

``The current system is antediluvian. We haven't updated it in any 
significant way in years, and that's one of the reasons why turnout has 
declined by nearly 20 percent since 1960,'' Schumer said. 

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., says he plans to introduce legislation creating 
a commission to look into how to maximize best the simplicity of voter 
registration and the ease of voting. 

While attempts to amend the Constitution to do away with the Electoral 
College have made little headway in Congress, the issue is likely to gain 
attention in 2001. First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, in one of her first 
statements after her election to a Senate seat from New York, said she would 
support such a constitutional amendment. 

In other action, Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., chairman of the House Commerce 
telecommunications subcommittee, has sent letters to news organizations as 
part of a congressional investigation into whether election-night 
predictions, some erroneous, discouraged voters from going to the polls 
elsewhere in the country. 

And the Congressional Black Caucus has written Attorney General Janet Reno 
seeking a formal investigation into allegations that blacks and other 
minorities faced discriminatory practices at voting precincts in Florida and 
other parts of the country. 

AP-NY-11-16-00 0906EST

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