Election Protection Bills

We have reviewed dozens of federal election protection related bills in both the U.S. House and Senate. What follows are bills that we strongly support. While there are occasional small changes we might call for here and there in some of them, overall, we believe these initiatives are important. Nonetheless, we value your input so please let us know at [email protected] and we will work with legislators to improve them as they work their way through committees and to the floors of each chamber.

Paper Ballot Bill – A hand-marked paper ballot is essential for every vote cast. That means, among other things, that Direct Recording Electronic voting systems (DREs), which do not have paper ballots, have no place in our democracy.

The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (HR 2894), introduced last year by Rush Holt, would replace DRE systems by 2014 and is supported by many organizations, including some endorsers of this campaign. Other endorsers of this campaign do not support HR 2894 as written but would consider doing so with the following amendments.

Caging Prohibition Act of 2009 — (Conyers; HR 103 PDF and S. 528 PDF.) – This bill would prohibit election officials from preventing individuals from registering to vote or voting in any federal election or from permitting formal voter challenges to voters’ registration status or eligibility if the basis of information gathered from voter caging documents or lists or unverified match lists. It would also establish requirements of individuals other than election officials who wish to challenge the voter eligibility of another individual, and prohibit challenges based on voter caging documents or lists or unverified match lists.

Provisional Ballot Fairness in Counting Act – (Holt; HR 3552 PDF) – this removes the “wrong precinct” rule that many states have used to invalidate provisional ballots. Under this language, if you cast your provisional ballot in the correct state for state-wide federal races, or in the correct Congressional District for Congressional races, it must be counted. It also requires notification to voters when provisional ballots are rejected, allowing them time to context the rejection. In addition, it would prohibit a state from certifying a result or commencing a recount prior to all provisional ballots being reviewed and counted in accordance with the foregoing requirements, and it would treat any rejected provisional ballots as voter registration applications.

Protection Against Wrongful Voter Purges Act — (Holt; HR 3835 PDF) – this provides for advance notice of possible removal from the rolls, and an opportunity to challenge and remedy if your name is removed. In addition, it would prohibit a state from refusing to register a voter who has submitted all information required by the national (NVRA) form, notwithstanding additional information requested by the state form, and it would prohibit a state from refusing to register an applicant solely on the basis of a failure to match data contained in another state database.

Democracy Restoration Act of 2009 — (Conyers; HR 3335 PDF and S1516 PDF.) – The Democracy Restoration Act (DRA) is federal legislation that seeks to restore voting rights in federal elections to the nearly 4 million disenfranchised Americans who have been released from prison and are living in the community.

Voter Access Protection Act – (Ellison, HR 4026 from the 109th Congress PDF) to forbid the requirement of a photo ID in a federal election.

Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act — (Conyers; HR 97 PDF) would criminalize the knowing and intentional communication of false and misleading information about the time, place, or manner of conducting elections, and the rules governing eligibility to register or to vote. It would also ensure that voters affected by deceptive or intimidating practices are provided with correct information from a reliable source in a timely manner.

Poll Tape Transparency Act (Holt, HR 5228 PDF) Would require election officials to make poll tapes available to citizen observers as soon as the polls close on Election Day, along with a statement of the number of voters who signed in to vote, enabling the citizen observers to compare that precinct-based data to the data reflected for the precinct during the tabulation phase of the election in the following days.. In addition, it would require reported discrepancies to be posted on the election official’s website, along with the resolution thereof.

Federal Election Integrity Act (Susan Davis; HR 512 PDF) to make it unlawful for a chief state election administration official to take active part in political management or in a political campaign with respect to any election for federal office over which the official has supervisory authority (other than the official’s own campaign or that of an immediate family member).

Student Voter Opportunity To Encourage Registration (VOTER) Act — (Schakowsky; HR 1729 PDF) — to provide for the treatment of institutions of higher education as voter registration agencies.

Veteran Voting Support Act (S 1556 PDF) The legislation would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to permit facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs to be designated as voter registration agencies, permit nonpartisan organizations to provide voter registration information and assistance at facilities of the VA health care system, and, require each Director of a VA community living center, domiciliary, or medical center to provide assistance in voting by absentee ballot to resident veterans.

Absentee Ballot Track, Receive, and Confirm Act — (Susan Davis; HR 2510; already passed in the House PDF) — to reimburse States for the costs incurred in establishing a program to track and confirm the receipt of voted absentee ballots in elections for Federal office and make information on the receipt of such ballots available by means of online access.

Prohibiting Unwarranted Voter Challenges Act (Jesse Jackson; HR 3489 PDF) to prohibit State election officials from accepting a challenge to an individual’s eligibility to register to vote in an election for Federal office or to vote in an election for Federal office in a jurisdiction on the grounds that the individual resides in a household in the jurisdiction which is subject to foreclosure proceedings or that the jurisdiction was adversely affected by a hurricane or other major disaster.

Same Day Registration Act (Ellison; HR 3957 PDF) to require States to provide for same day registration.

Campaign Finance Reform Bills to Mitigate Citizens United

Legislative responses

The DISCLOSE Act: Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act (Van Hollen H.R. 5175 PDF) Ban on expenditures from foreign interests, federal contractors, and TARP recipients; Disclosure to the public through enhanced reporting through the FEC and LDA and to shareholders directly and through the SEC; Stand By Your Ad (CEO and donor disclosure); Coordination Rules (tightened between outside groups and candidates). Summary: PDF.

Shareholder Protection Act — (Capuano; HR 4537 PDF) to require the express authorization of a majority of shareholders of a public company for certain political expenditures.

Constitutional Amendments

Donna Edwards (H.J. Res. 74 PDF) permitting Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations engaging in political speech.

Dodd (S. J. Res. 28 PDF) permitting Congress to regulate the raising and spending of money with respect to Federal elections.

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