The Election Reform Task Force released its report (download PDF,) calling for the following improvements to the state election process:
- Moving the date of the primary election at least four weeks earlier to give election supervisors sufficient time to certify the primary results, mail the general election ballots and prepare for the general election.
- Requiring voter identification to get a ballot at the polling site. Voters without identification would be issued a provisional ballot.
- Improving voter registration records. To assure the voter rolls do not include illegitimate voters or duplications, the task force recommends a strong effort to bring a new statewide voter database online as soon as possible.
- Improving military ballots. Moving the primary date earlier would improve the ability of service men and women to participate in elections. The task force also recommends a system of deployment notification and ballot delivery tailored to those members called up and expected to be away from home on Election Day.
- Assuring statewide procedural consistency by giving the Secretary of State a stronger role to bring about a more consistent election process between counties.
- Providing clearer warnings and stronger enforcement of voter fraud. The Legislature should evaluate whether current penalties are enough of a deterrent to voter fraud and whether sufficient funding is provided to investigate and prosecute this type of fraud. The task force recommends clearer warnings in voter material and on the back of ballot envelopes.
- Setting a consistent date for certifying results. To minimize the perception of impropriety, the task force recommends that all counties certify their results on the same day.
- Modifying provisional ballots. Provisional ballots should be a different color than regular ballots and provisions made to halt such ballots from being read by the optical scanners at the polling sites.
- Providing for mandatory review or audit. The task force believes that, to restore trust in the elections systems, a strong, structured review or audit program should be conducted by the Secretary of State’s Office.
The only one of these recommendations I have any qualms over is the one requiring ID, for pragmatic reasons I intend to get into later. But the rest of the reforms seem pretty uncontroversial.
In fact I’m sure the biggest criticism of the report will be that it doesn’t go far enough. For example, I believe it is critical to mandate voter verifiable paper trails for electronic voting machines, whereas some of you on the right would probably prefer much tighter voting procedures… you know, like restricting the franchise to propertied, white males.
I’d like to take some time to really explore election reform in detail, but before I start pontificating, I thought I’d open this thread as an opportunity for all of you to tell me what kind of election reform you want to see. I want to hear your suggestions. Really. Even all you righties. (Well… most of you righties.)
So let’s try to keep this relatively civil — by HorsesAss.org standards — and on topic.