Thirty Six Days of Uncertainty
and Other Interested Parties
task forces have weighed in with various recommendations.
||President Bush accepted
the report of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform from former
President Carter and former House Minority Leader Robert Michel on July
Century Foundation and the University
of Virginia's Miller Center announced creation of a National
Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by Howard Baker
and Lloyd Cutler, on Jan. 30, 2001. Former presidents Jimmy Carter
and Gerald Ford served as active honorary co-chairs; Robert H. Michel replaced
Baker as a co-chair when Bush nominated him as Ambassador to Japan.
The Commission held its first meeting on March 1 and held four public hearings
(March 26, April 12, May 24, and June 5). It presented its final
report, with thirteen policy recommendations, on July 31, 2001 in a ceremony
in the Rose Garden at the White House: "To
Assure Pride and Confidence in the Electoral Process."
Conference of State Legislatures announced an Elections
Reform Task Force on Dec. 15, 2000. The task force held six meetings
around the country and issued a final report, "Voting
in America," on August 14, 2001 during the organization's annual meeting.
Its report contained 36 recommendations based on ten broad principles.
Project, a bipartisan nonprofit organization based at the Georgetown
University Law Center, launched an Election
Reform Initiative. Its Forum on Election Reform brought together
more than 40 organizations; it released its report "Building
Consensus for Election Reform" on August 2, 2001.
The nonprofit Election
Center established a task force which released its report "Election
2000: Review and Recommendations by The Nation's Elections Administrators"
on August 9, 2001.
and Caltech announced a joint project to develop new voting technology
on Dec. 14, 2000. The Caltech/MIT Voting
Technology Project released its report "Voting
- What Is, What Could Be" in mid-July 2001.
Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association
of County Recorder, Election Officials and Clerks (NACRC) established a
National Commission on Election Standards and Reform. The Commission
held several meetings (Jan. 10., Jan. 31., March 2, April 21-22) and released
and Recommendations to Improve America's Election System" on June 26,
2001. Following on the report, NACo launched an "Expand
Democracy in America" campaign to encourage people to serve as poll
workers and assist counties with voter education.
Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) formed an Election
Standards Task Force which held meetings on Jan. 13-14; task force
recommendations served as the basis for a resolution
adopted by NASS on Feb. 6, 2001 during its winter conference. Further
steps were taken at the organization's summer conference, where NASS adopted
a second resolution
(July 17, 2001) focusing specifically on the role of the federal government
and issued a best
practices document (August 1, 2001).
Reform Information Project, at the University
of Richmond, launched with a three-year, $3.57 million grant received from
Pew Charitable Trusts in mid-March 2001. It issued a report "ONE
YEAR LATER: What's Changed, What Hasn't and Why" (October 22, 2001)
and launched a useful website: electionline.org.
of Women Voters held a "Focus
on the Voter" Election Reform Symposia Series: March 15, April 19,
and May 22, 2001.
National Committee established a Voting
Rights Institute, chaired by Maynard Jackson, "to address voter education
and voter intimidation issues." The Voting Rights Institute, launched
on May 1, 2001, seeks to use "education, training, grassroots advocacy,
funding and communication to expand voting rights across America and at
every level of government." The VRI held a Southern
regional hearing in Riviera Beach, FL on May 7, an Eastern regional hearing
in Newark, NJ on May 22, and a Midwestern regional seminar in Detroit,
MI on June 29. A planned Western regional seminar was scrapped.
The VRI helped develop materials emphasizing people's right to vote for
the 2001 gubernatorial campaigns in New Jersey and Virginia.
In January the American
Civil Liberties Union filed lawsuits on behalf of African American
voters in Georgia, Florida and Illinois; affiliates in Missouri and California
have filed similar lawsuits; and in August the ACLU of Florida challenged
several sections of the state's recently adopted Election Reform Act.
groups are seeking to build support for a Voters'
Bill of Rights. A cornerstone event was a Pro-Democracy Convention,
sponsored by the Center for Constitutional Rights, held in Philadelphia
June 29-July 1, 2001.
Institute of Graphic Arts has created a voting design task force to
serve as a nonpartisan, professional resource; the taskforce is part of
a broader effort by the organization to encourage clearer communication
between government and citizens.
DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe
party's Voting Rights Institute
on May 1
in front of the U.S. Supreme
Copyright 2000, 2001 Eric
M. Appleman/Democracy in Action