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Senators McConnell And Bond Introduce "The Voter Protection Act Of 2005"

Location: Washington, DC

Senators McConnell And Bond Introduce "The Voter Protection Act Of 2005"

from the Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

*McConnell/Bond election reform bill targets voter fraud*

U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Kit Bond (R-MO) today introduced "The Voter Protection Act of 2005," a bill designed to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.

"I am proud of the advancements made in the 2004 elections," said McConnell. "Our bill is the critical next step in providing the tools to improve accurate voter rolls and information at the polling place. Simply put, we seek to guarantee that those eligible and registered to vote may do so -- but only once."

Key provisions of the McConnell/Bond bill require:

· Photo ID to be presented at the polling place - with grants to states to provide free photo identifications.

· States to sync their databases with each other to remove duplicate registrants and allow the use of social security numbers to facilitate this goal.

· Voter registration forms must be complete to be accepted -- affirming the registrant's citizenship.

· Forms from a voter registration drives must be submitted within 3 days after the registrant signs them.

· Polling sites to have lists of those who already voted and those who requested an absentee ballot.

· Election officials to clean their lists of non-voters.

· Absentee ballots are returned by Election Day.

· States to determine how provisional ballots are counted.

· Drivers license number, last 4 digits of social security number or photo ID to get absentee ballot.

The McConnell/Bond bill also establishes a pilot program for use of indelible ink at polling places to signify that an individual has voted. States can apply for grants to participate in the program.

The legislation also imposes penalties for individuals who pay someone to register to vote and for those who destroy property with intent to impede the act of voting.

"With advancements in election technology, gone should be the day of errors on registration lists, being registered in multiple states and not counting every legally cast ballot," added McConnell.

The Help America Vote Act of 2002, which Senator McConnell was the lead Senate Republican sponsor made significant improvements to the voting process by imposing minimum standards for equipment, registration and provisional voting backed up by an unprecedented $3 billion of federal funds to pay for them.

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