PFAW Urges Meaningful Reform for 2002 Elections

Backs Dodd-Conyers bill, expresses ‘serious concerns’ over Hoyer-Ney

In a letter to members of the House of Representatives, People For the American Way urged Congress to enact comprehensive election reform before the year’s end and in time for the 2002 elections.

PFAW has endorsed the Dodd-Conyers proposal for reforming elections because it creates fair and uniform standards for ballots, voter education, poll worker training, and voting equipment and procedures. The PFAW letter said Dodd-Conyers "stands alone in its comprehensiveness addressing the many voting irregularities that consumed Florida and the nation in the 2000 election."

PFAW’s letter also cited "a number of serious concerns" about the Hoyer-Ney proposal, including its failure "to adequately address issues of accessibility for disabled voters, assistance to language minorities, discrimination and intimidation, error notification and provisional ballots."

Explaining the urgency of election reform, People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas said, "In the last election, we saw just how dire the need for election reform is. If we don’t fix the system now, we risk experiencing more ‘Floridas’ and more voter disenfranchisement. The right to vote – nothing less than the institution that allows America to call itself a democracy – is at stake."

The full text of PFAW’s letter to members of the House of Representatives follows:

On behalf of the more than 500,000 members and supporters of People For the American Way (PFAW), we write to urge you to do all you can to ensure that comprehensive election reform is enacted before the end of this year. While we are pleased with the commitment of Congressmen Hoyer and Ney to enact election reform legislation, we have a number of serious concerns about their bill. The Help America Vote Act of 2001, H.R. 3295, fails to adequately address issues of accessibility for disabled voters, assistance to language minorities, discrimination and intimidation, error notification and provisional ballots.

PFAW strongly supports the Equal Protection of Voting Rights Act of 2001, H.R. 1170, introduced by Congressman Conyers and co-sponsored by 161 other members of the House. We strongly believe that H.R. 1170 stands alone in its comprehensiveness addressing the many voting irregularities that consumed Florida and the nation in the 2000 election. The Equal Protection of Voting Rights Act would require that each state meet a set of minimum standards when it comes to voting equipment, the training of poll workers, absentee and bilingual ballots, provisional ballots, overseas voters and accessibility for the disabled.

In order to regain the trust and full participation of voters across the country, we need comprehensive election reform before next year’s elections. We look forward to working with you as the legislative process continues to ensure that comprehensive election reform is enacted for the 2002 elections.

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