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Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act

Rep. Holt’s HR 5036, the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act, is listed among the bills that might come to the House floor the week beginning April 14. After its introduction on January 17, HR 5036 was referred to both the Committee on House Administration and the Committee on Science and Technology “for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker”.

The Committee on House Administration held its markup session on April 2 and made some amendments. The Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation has yet to consider it, so the version that comes to the House next week is the version as amended by the House Administration Committee. The bill has 92 co-sponsors.

The Congressional Research Service’s summary of the Bill as introduced states that the legislation:

Directs the Administrator of General Services to reimburse certain jurisdictions for the costs of: (1) converting from electronic or other voting systems to paper ballot voting systems for the general elections for federal office to be held in November 2008; and (2) providing emergency paper ballots if the jurisdiction uses a direct recording electronic voting system which happens to fail.

Directs the Administrator to reimburse any state, county, or equivalent location for the documented reasonable costs it incurs in conducting manual audits or hand recounts of the results of any of the regularly scheduled elections for federal office in November 2008 (including, at state or local option, manual audits of state and local elections, ballot initiatives, and referenda).

Requires the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to study, test, and develop products and practices that ensure the accessibility of paper ballot verification and casting for individuals with disabilities, for voters whose primary language is not English, and for voters with difficulties in literacy.

The amended version is not yet available on Thomas, but if you paste “Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act” (including the quotation marks) into the Search box at this page, you can then click the H.R.5036.1H link to get to the text of the bill as introduced.

Steven Rosenfeld’s report about the issues surrounding the Bill is here.


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