Uniform Election Standards and Real Accountability

Congress should set uniform standards for ballot design, poll worker training, polling place locations and ballot access for presidential candidates.  We need ongoing federal funding for elections and rigorous evaluation of what works and what can be improved.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no single voting system in the United States.  Instead, voting policies and procedures are set by each state and in many cases by each voting precinct.  As a result, 13,000 independent voting districts administer elections.  This has resulted in a patchwork collection of federal, state and local laws: all separate and all unequal.  It is no wonder that so many Americans are improperly disenfranchised every election.

By giving Congress the power to set minimum standards and guidelines for states, all voters will be treated equally at the polls and be subjected to the same general policies and procedures. States will continue to run elections and set policy as they see fit, but will be required to follow guidelines to ensure all eligible voters can vote and that all votes are correctly counted.

Policy Recommendation:

The monumental 2002 Help America Vote Act created the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to examine electoral problems and make recommendations for reform. The authority of the commission should be altered from a body that recommends policy changes to a body that can truly set policy for all federal elections. A centralized election commission capable of making policy will benefit all voters. Just as the National Highway Board is empowered to set standards that states must follow when designing and constructing a highway, the EAC should have the authority to create minimum standards states must follow to ensure the quality of elections.