You are viewing an obsolete version of the DU website which is no longer supported by the Administrators. Visit The New DU.
Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

The Help America Vote Act--Help or hindrance? [View All]

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Election Reform Donate to DU
Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-01-11 03:07 PM
Original message
The Help America Vote Act--Help or hindrance?
Advertisements [?]
Here we go again. Another one of those pesky truth-telling election officials:

Your Vote Counts: The Help America Vote Act--Help or hindrance?
Saturday, 01 January 2011

REMEMBER FLORIDA 2000? Chads, hanging and dimpled. Confusion when we should have had conclusion. Not this country's proudest electoral moment.

Congress was embarrassed. So in 2002 it passed the Help America Vote Act. HAVA required states to improve electoral education, training and administration, and to make it possible for people with disabilities to cast their votes, privately and independently, with the rest of the electorate at the polling place.

Wait -- didn't HAVA also outlaw the lever voting machines that New York had been using for decades?

In a word: No.

But it did offer extra funding to states looking to upgrade their New York's case, $50 million.

Wow -- such a deal. Except that our machines were working quite well, thank you, assuming they were appropriately maintained and all the crucial bipartisan checks and balances were executed. In many ways, they worked better than the electronic machines that replaced them.


Having borne witness to the myriad problems other states were encountering with their newfangled electronic systems, our state Board of Elections was cautious. To their credit, they set the bar high. To their dismay, they located no worthy specimens. A really good electronic voting machine was beyond the state of the art.


It's sad that, while New Yorkers associate HAVA with helping the disabled to vote, they also often associate HAVA with high costs and meddling -- with fixing something that wasn't broke. That's an unfair and tragic conflation of the reality.

Yes, HAVA gave people with disabilities the voting rights they deserved. No, HAVA didn't require us to give up our lever voting machines and substitute them with op-scans. Nor did HAVA require us to expend the money that we did (and will continue to). That was the work of our legislature when it grabbed the free money that was offered (as if federal money is manna from heaven) in order to modernize our voting equipment.


Virginia Martin is Democratic election commissioner of Columbia County, New York. Read more at:
Refresh | +4 Recommendations Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top

Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Election Reform Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC