Four States Reach Election Agreement

Published December 12th 2005 in Associated Press
JEFERSON CITY, Mo. - Election officials in four Midwestern states have reached an agreement aimed partly at making sure people aren't registered to vote in multiple states.

The agreement among secretaries of state in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska calls for the creation of a task force to study ways of cross-checking voter registration rolls in the various states.

The task force also is to study joint training of election officials, testing of election systems and ways to improve election security procedures, as well as the creation of standard rules for international election observers.

"This agreement is a commonsense way Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska can work together to clean up our voter lists, improve election security, and increase peoples' confidence in the elections system," Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan said Monday.

The agreement comes less than a month after the U.S. Justice Department sued Carnahan, claiming Missouri had failed to take reasonable steps to keep its voter rolls up to date. As a result, the Justice Department claimed, Missouri's voter rolls may include some people who have died or moved and exclude others who should still be eligible to vote.

Carnahan spokesman Mike Seitz said the multi-state agreement was not prompted by the Justice Department's lawsuit, although he said it could have implications by helping to clean up voter rolls. Missouri expects to have a new centralized voter registration database running by January.

Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh issued a joint news release with Carnahan announcing the agreement. He said the pact put the four states "clearly ahead of the curve in cooperating to protect the integrity of our elections."

The agreement, dated Sunday, was signed at the Midwest Election Officials Conference in Overland Park, Kan.