The United States of America is the leading democracy in the world. In order to maintain our strong democracy, every American must be confident in his or her ability to cast a vote, verify that vote, and never doubt that the vote that he or she intends to cast is counted. I have worked hard and will continue to work hard to ensure that every American has that confidence.
In an effort to achieve that goal, I joined Senators Bob Graham and Barbara Boxer in introducing the RECORD ACT to require all electronic voting systems to produce a voter-verified paper ballot for use in manual recounts. In addition, among other provisions, the legislation contained a number of requirements designed to significantly improve the security of voting systems. It also authorized funding to help states and local governments implement the paper trail requirement.
In the summer of 2004, I requested that the Government Accountability Office conduct a study of how the states were addressing a number of issues concerning our federal election systems, including provisional ballots, the purging of voters, voter registration, and identification. Before the November 2004 elections, I also sent a letter to President Bush, calling upon him to use his full authority to prevent voter intimidation and disenfranchisement of American citizens.
I introduced the Count Every Vote Act which was crafted to address many of the problems Americans experienced in trying to vote and have their vote counted in both the 2000 and 2004 elections. Described as the "gold standard" of election reform legislation by the New York Times, the Count Every Vote Act addresses a wide range of problems, including long wait times in which to vote, the erroneous purging of voters, voter suppression and intimidation, and unequal access to the voting process. The legislation also requires a paper trail for all voters, mandates national standards in a variety of areas, including the registration of voters and the counting of provisional ballots, provides for re-enfranchisement for those convicted of crimes but who have fully repaid their debt to society, and calls for election day registration and a national holiday to make it easier for many Americans to vote.