Election Reform: The Time Is Now

The Urgent Need To Improve Our Election Infrastructure

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Five years after the unprecedented crisis of the 2000 presidential election—and one year after an election that barely escaped the same fate—our election system remains imperiled. Unless urgent reforms are adopted at the state level, the problems in our election infrastructure could very well lead to significant national consequences in the 2006 midterm elections.

Unfortunately, national attention to the issue of election reform has been sorely lacking. Despite the passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in 2002, public opinion polls show that Americans’ confidence in our election system is at an historic low. Policymakers and the media often focus on the issue only in the days preceding major elections—months after state and county election administrators have made the critical decisions that will determine how the system will perform on Election Day.

A Center for American Progress analysis of recent electoral research finds that one year before the 2006 midterm elections, more than 90 million registered voters are exposed to serious electoral deficiencies, including low-quality voter registration databases, inadequate safeguards for purging voters from the rolls, and insufficiently tested voting machines. Specifically, our analysis has found:

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