Election changes on drawing board

A coalition of top state election officials unveiled a set of draft recommendations

Monday to improve voting systems and procedures across the nation.

"As election

officials, we need to do more than modernize the machinery. We need to modernize

the process," said Arkansas Secretary of State Sharon Priest, president

of the National Association of Secretaries of State, which issued the 15

recommendations. "This is an evolution. This is not a revolution."

The bipartisan group is the first of several national organizations

to publicize guidelines on election reform, an issue that erupted during

the controversial presidential vote count in Florida last year. The rather

broad recommendations are "the gist of what we think is important," said

California Secretary of State Bill Jones, a member of the NASS election

task force. A NASS election subcommittee is expected to issue specific guidelines

stemming from these recommendations by July.

Some NASS recommendations include:

* Modernizing voting machines, equipment, technologies and systems.

* Ensuring equal access for minorities, the elderly and people with

disabilities.

* Encouraging states to adopt and enforce Election Day rules and procedures.

* Providing increased funding to implement recommendations.

* Conducting aggressive voter education and broad-based outreach programs.

* Expanding poll worker recruitment, continuous certification for election

officials and training for both groups.

* Maintaining accurate voter registrations rolls with an intergovernmental

cooperation and communication system.

* Enhancing integrity and timeliness of absentee ballot procedures.

* Adopting and adhering to voluntary federal voting systems standards.

* Collecting data and election information regularly.

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