Federal election reform may prevent voter fraud

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(Host) Secretary of State Deb Markowitz has convened a special committee to help the state implement a new federal election reform law. The legislation, which is called the Help America Vote Act, was signed into law by President Bush last November.

The committee includes lawmakers, town clerks, and members of local boards of civil authority. Markowitz says the new law has two important provisions for the state of Vermont. The first requires the creation of a statewide checklist of voters:

(Markowitz) “The idea is that this should help us get duplicates off the list. When somebody moves and gets on a checklist in the new community we should know that they’re there and be able to take them off at their previous location. So it’s supposed to help with checklist maintenance and ideally prevent voter fraud.”

(Host) The second key provision, according to Markowitz, is a requirement that all voting places be equipped with machines for voters who are visually impaired:

rkowitz) “That will be a huge change for Vermont because in most of our communities we don’t use machines, and there’s no waiver for communities that use paper ballots, there’s no waiver for towns of under 500 or under 100 people. Even so, that’s going to be a big deal in Vermont.”

(Host) Markowitz says the state will receive $5 million to implement the new federal law. She expects a significant amount of the money to be used to help towns purchase new voting machines.

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