From the archives: Helping America vote – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise3rd November 2018
Elections in the US are run locally, but after the fiasco in Florida during the Bush v. Gore election of 2000, members of Congress and AEI scholars Norm Ornstein and John Fortier worked together to help lawmakers reform the nation’s voting process.
The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was passed in 2002 and it provided minimum voluntary standards for states to follow in several areas of election administration including areas such as testing and certifying voting equipment. The first national voting reform law, HAVA established the Election Assistance Commission to oversee the law and assist states with compliance, while providing funds to enable an upgrade to their systems.
AEI and the Brookings Institution created an election reform project and convened a series of meetings with election officials around the country to discuss best practices. A young senator from Illinois, Barack Obama gave the keynote address. You can read a transcript of that address here.
Today many Americans believe our voting systems are too insecure. Ironically, the electronic machines enabled by HAVA in response to “hanging chads” with paper ballots are targets for corruption and chicanery. Today five states use electronic voting machines that do not provide a paper ballot backup. Most of these are now being phased out. Americans need to believe that their votes will be counted accurately and fairly, and the AEI and Brookings Institution efforts were designed to increase citizens’ trust in the voting process.
You can learn more about the upcoming midterm elections by following AEI scholars’ analysis here.