States to get $500 million for election reform

Congress has appropriated $500 million in the catchall spending bill now awaiting President Bush's signature for grants to states to improve voting technology.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004 states that the half-billion-dollar grant kitty will assist state and local efforts to improve election technology and administration of federal elections.

The appropriation is authorized by Section 257 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which Congress passed in the wake of the disputed 2000 presidential election.

HAVA affects every part of the voting process, from voting machines to provisional ballots, registration and poll worker training, the League of Women Voters has said. The act mandates federal requirements for provisional ballots, statewide computerized voter lists, second-chance voting and disability access.

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