Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) are proposing a new “Count Every Vote Act” – an amendment of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 – in response to perceived problems in the 2004 election. Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) is proposing a counterpart bill in the House. From Boxer’s press release, 2/18/05, http://www.boxer.senate.gov/news/record.cfm?id=232372:
Full text of the Senate bill here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s109-450 Section 327 allows voters to register on election day (for federal elections only). Section 701, “Civic Participation by Ex-Offenders,” says ex-felons will be able to vote (in federal elections only), regardless of state law disenfranchising them.
However, unlike Rep. Jesse Jackson’s proposed Voting Rights Amendment (http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/030905A.shtml), the Count Every Vote Act does not explicitly define voting as a citizenship right at the federal level.
Issues for debate:
Is there any good reason not to have a paper trail?
Any reason not to have an Election Day holiday?
Any reason not to criminalize “voter intimidation” (so long as it involves deceptive tactics)?
Any reason not to enfranchise ex-felons, at least for federal elections?
Does this bill present the possibility of more “voter fraud,” in the form of ballots being cast by non-citizens, or persons who have not been resident in the relevant state for the legally prescribed period? (BTW: Are there any reliable figures on how much “voter fraud” of this type actually took place in 2004?)