Election reform deal would send billions to states

Election reform deal would send billions to states

A long-awaited compromise over election reform procedures appears to have formed in a Congressional conference committee, and $3.8 billion in federal funds for new election technology could be on its way to states soon.

The legislation to overhaul election procedures, known as the Help America Vote Act (HR 3295), has been stalled for months as Senate Democrats and House Republicans sought a compromise over its antifraud provisions and other sections.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), chairmen of the conference committee, announced Friday that the panel had agreed on the outlines of a compromise. Conference committee staff members were compiling the details of the compromise this afternoon.

The outline of the compromise includes:

  • More than $3.7 billion in direct aid to states to improve federal election processes


  • Creation of an Election Assistance Commission to issue voluntary guidelines for voting systems


  • Antifraud provisions requiring positive identification and accurate voter lists

  • Provisional balloting procedures to allow voting while disputes are resolved


  • Improved voting access for the disabled, including more than $100 million in physical access grants


  • New voting procedures for military and overseas voters


  • Criminal penalties for vote fraud.


  • The original election reform bills passed each chamber by wide margins. The two lawmakers praised the compromise as bipartisan and bicameral.

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