[EM] Senate to Upgrade Voting Systems
DEMOREP1 at aol.com
DEMOREP1 at aol.com
Sun Mar 24 18:57:47 PST 2002
Senate to Upgrade Voting Systems
By JANELLE CARTER
WASHINGTON (AP) - Senators agreed Friday to pass legislation next month to
upgrade the nation's voting systems in the wake of the disputed 2000
presidential election results in Florida.
The agreement calls for lawmakers to debate the bill for two hours and vote
on it when they return from a two-week Easter recess.
``We're not done yet,'' cautioned Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, the
measure's Democratic sponsor. ``But this ... brings us closer.''
Still to be resolved are differences between the Senate bill, which calls for
a much bigger federal role in administering elections, and a House version
that would help states buy voting machines but also maintain state and local
control over them.
An exact date for the Senate debate is still to be determined by Senate
Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
The bill, negotiated by Dodd and Republican Sens. Christopher Bond of
Missouri and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, stalled earlier this month when
Democrats objected to a provision requiring first-time voters who register by
mail in Oregon and Washington state to prove their identities with photo IDs,
utility bills or some other document.
As a compromise, sponsors agreed to change the bill to allow voters from
those areas to write their driver's license number or the last four digits of
their Social Security number on forms when they initially register to vote.
If they do, no further documentation is needed for mail-in voting.
``That addresses one of the concerns I had, that there were more hurdles
being put up to vote by mail,'' said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
Democrats had initially tried to strip the bill of the identification
requirements, complaining that would disproportionately affect the poor. They
later agreed to a compromise that says the identification provisions won't
kick in until 2004.
The bills are S. 565, H.R. 3295.
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