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Sound Management Practices Recommended For 2004

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SOUND MANAGEMENT PRACTICES RECOMMENDED FOR 2004
Safeguards for Voters and Voting Systems Outlined

WASHINGTON, DC- The League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) today issued a new report to help safeguard the votes of all Americans in the 2004 election. Helping America Vote: Safeguarding the Vote outlines a set of recommended operational and management practices for state and local election officials to enhance voting system security, protect eligible voters and ensure that valid votes are counted.

"Every community should have safeguards for voting systems so that they operate properly and accurately record the voter's intent," stated Kay J. Maxwell, LWVUS president. "In this report, the League has put together a list of common-sense practices that have proven effective in states that have already put them into use," Maxwell said.

"Many people don't realize that most voters coming to the polls this fall will cast their votes on the same type of voting machines they used in the 2000 elections," said Maxwell. "Checklist for Voting Systems - an easy-to-read supplement in Safeguarding - is a handy starting place for election officials and voters to ensure that all voting machines are ready for Election Day. This resource includes a simple list that applies to all voting machines and a specific checklist for each type of machine," Maxwell stated.

"No matter the voting machine being used - punch card or optical scan, lever or touchscreen - there are universal steps to be followed in preparing for Election Day," noted Maxwell. "All voting machines, for instance, should meet federal qualifications and state certification standards, and these should not be bypassed on Election Day. Ballot design for each type of machine is vitally important in making sure that voters properly cast their votes. And aggressive education efforts are essential to show voters how to use their voting machines," according to Maxwell. "The Checklist also provides basic measures for each particular type of machine so officials can tailor protections to their precinct or county," Maxwell stated.

"The League's report provides the tools - the nuts and bolts - to assist election officials in improving voting system security, ensuring that machines operate properly, and setting up voter registration systems that enfranchise, not disenfranchise voters," Maxwell said. For example, the report recommends "tracking and documentation of all procedures, from the testing of machines to the handling of ballots," to ensure that such practices are actually carried out and that audits are possible if problems occur.

"The League is known for working closely with election officials to make the system function better, and this report is part of our ongoing efforts. Safeguarding builds on the recommendations we provided officials in the first Helping America Vote monograph, A Guide to Implementing the New Federal Provisional Ballot Requirement ( http://www.lwv.org/elibrary/pub/voting_help-vote.pdf) in August 2003," said Maxwell.

"From now until well beyond Election Day, League members in communities nationwide will continue fighting for changes that protect eligible voters. Sound management practices will strengthen the election process and protect the fundamental right to vote," concluded Maxwell.

The Safeguarding the Vote report is available at http://www.lwv.org/elibrary/pub/voting_safeguarding_color.pdf.

***

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Contact: Kelly Ceballos www.lwv.org kceballos@lwv.org


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