EQUAL PROTECTION OF VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 2001
(Senate - February 13, 2002)

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[Pages S709-S729]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




             EQUAL PROTECTION OF VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 2001

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the clerk will 
report S. 565 by title.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 565) to establish the Commission on Voting 
     Rights and Procedures to study and make recommendations 
     regarding election technology, voting, and election 
     administration, to establish a grant program under which the 
     Office of Justice Programs and the Civil Rights Division of 
     the Department of Justice shall provide assistance to States 
     and localities in improving election technology and the 
     administration of Federal elections, to require States to 
     meet uniform and nondiscriminatory election technology and 
     administration requirements for the 2004 Federal elections, 
     and for other purposes.


                           Amendment No. 2688

  Mr. DODD. Madam President, I call up amendment No. 2688.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.

[[Page S710]]

  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Connecticut [Mr. Dodd], for himself, Mr. 
     McConnell, Mr. Schumer, Mr. Bond, Mr. Torricelli, Mr. McCain, 
     Mr. Durbin, Mr. Brownback, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Dayton, Mr. 
     Bayh, Mr. Nelson of Florida, Mrs. Carnahan, Mr. Kerry, and 
     Mr. Breaux, proposes an amendment numbered 2688.

  (The amendment is printed in today's Record under ``Amendments 
Submitted.'')
  Mr. DODD. Madam President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. DODD. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent the order for the 
quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DODD. Madam President, some four decades ago, Dr. Martin Luther 
King said:

       The history of our nation is the history of a long and 
     tireless effort to broaden and to increase the franchise of 
     American citizens.

  This afternoon, we are gathered to consider the election reform bill 
which will live up, in my view, to the words Dr. Martin Luther King 
uttered 40 years ago; that is, to broaden the franchise of American 
citizens.
  It is a great honor and privilege to bring this bill to the floor, 
the Equal Protection of Voting Rights Act, with a bipartisan compromise 
that will be substituted for the committee-reported text of the bill 
when we get to that point.
  As Thomas Paine once said:

       The right to vote is the primary right upon which all other 
     rights are based.

  Therefore, there is no greater challenge facing this body than 
restoring Americans' faith in our electoral process.
  Fourteen months ago yesterday, the American public decided--the 
country decided--who would be the 43rd President of the United States. 
What we are engaged in today, and will be over the next day or so, is 
not any discussion or debate about the past. George W. Bush is the 
President of the United States and has been since January 20 of last 
year. This bill is about the future, what we can do to try to make our 
election systems more fair, bring them up to date, to make it possible 
for people to cast votes more easily, and to see to it that those who 
may want to corrupt the system somehow will find their job far more 
difficult.

  I consider this to be landmark legislation. It will help to ensure 
that our voting procedures are uniform and nondiscriminatory, and that 
Americans can have faith in the integrity of our election results.
  While we should not underestimate the significance of this action, we 
should be cautious not to overstate the Federal role in the 
administration of Federal elections. This legislation does not replace, 
nor would I tolerate it replacing, the historic role of State and local 
election officials, nor does it create a one-size-fits-all approach to 
balloting in America.
  We, by no means, intend to supplant the traditional role that State 
and local governments have played administering elections for Federal 
office. But, for the first time, with this legislation, the Congress--
the Federal Government--will set basic minimum requirements and provide 
critical resources for Federal elections.
  This bipartisan compromise ensures that the most fundamental right in 
any democracy--the right to vote and have that vote counted--will be 
secure. But it also allows States to meet the legislation's broad 
requirements in a way best suited for their voting jurisdictions.
  Notwithstanding this flexible approach, the primary objectives of 
this compromise remain expanding the franchise, protecting our Federal 
elections system from corruption, and providing the ongoing leadership 
that is required of a Federal partner.
  Let me be clear from the outset, this legislation is not about one 
State or one election. While the problems that took place in Florida a 
year ago last November brought the flaws in our election system to the 
Nation's attention, these are systemic problems that have existed in 
many States for many years.
  In fact, the General Accounting Office found that 57 percent of 
voting jurisdictions nationwide experienced major problems conducting 
the November 2000 elections. Meanwhile, the Caltech/MIT Voting 
Technology Project found there have been approximately 2 million 
uncounted, unmarked, or spoiled ballots in each of the last four 
Presidential elections.
  Luckily, unlike many other issues that are presented to the Congress, 
the vast majority of the flaws in our election system are eminently 
fixable.
  As the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, led by former 
Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, found:

       The weaknesses in election administration are, to a very 
     great degree, problems that Government can actually solve.

  We have the opportunity today to take an incremental step forward 
toward solving our election problems as we begin debate on the Equal 
Protection of Voting Rights Act.
  This bill also represents a major step forward for the United States 
Congress. For the very first time, the Federal Government will become a 
real partner with State and local governments in the administration of 
Federal elections.
  This legislation has been 15 months in the making. In the wake of the 
November 2000 elections, then-chairman of the Rules Committee, and my 
good friend, Mitch McConnell, first pledged that our committee would 
conduct a series of hearings on election reform. Under his leadership, 
the committee held the initial hearing on March 14 of the year 2001.
  When I assumed the committee chairmanship in June, I pledged to 
continue to make election reform the top legislative priority of the 
Senate Rules Committee. Toward that end, we held an additional 3 days 
of hearings on election reform last summer, including the committee's 
field hearing in Atlanta, GA.
  Recognizing that comprehensive election reform legislation could not 
be a partisan endeavor, we brought together last fall a bipartisan team 
of Senators devoted to this issue.
  Our election reform working group included, of course, Senator Mitch 
McConnell of Kentucky, who deserves tremendous accolades for initially 
focusing the Rules Committee on this important issue and for being a 
great partner in trying to resolve the many difficult issues we 
resolved in presenting this piece of legislation to our colleagues; our 
Republican colleague from Missouri, Kit Bond, who was a passionate 
advocate for including provisions to ensure the integrity of Federal 
elections; and my fellow Rules Committee members, New York Senator 
Chuck Schumer and New Jersey Senator Bob Torricelli, who were among the 
very first Members of this body to forcefully push for bipartisan 
election reform legislation.
  I am grateful to all of these Senators for their tireless work and 
that of their staffs who put in literally hundreds of hours to bring us 
to this point of considering a proposal on election reform.
  All of us worked many months to develop legislation that would try to 
meet one central goal; that was to make it easier to vote in America 
and much harder to corrupt our Federal election system.
  On December 19 of last year, we introduced the compromise legislation 
as a Senate substitute amendment No. 2688, an amendment to S. 565, the 
election reform bill reported out of the Rules Committee on August 2. 
Today, Majority Leader Daschle acted on his commitment to make this 
bill one of the first items on the Senate agenda during the 2nd session 
of the 107th Congress and I mark himself his considerable efforts.
  Our legislation simply establishes three basic minimum Federal 
requirements that support our principle of making it easier to vote but 
harder to corrupt the system: One, voting system standards so that 
every eligible blind or disabled person and every language minority can 
cast a vote privately and independently; two, provisional voting so 
that an eligible voter in America will never be turned away from the 
voting booth and voting information posted at the polls so that voters 
are informed of their rights; and three, statewide voter registration 
lists and verification for first-time voters who register by mail so 
that all eligible voters who choose to vote will be able

[[Page S711]]

to do so and those who are not eligible cannot.
  Our bill offers not just goals but some guarantees as well. We ensure 
that these reforms will be implemented by authorizing the Attorney 
General to bring civil action against jurisdictions that fail to comply 
with these requirements. The compromise also establishes a new Federal 
agency with four bipartisan commissioners. They will be appointed by 
the President, confirmed by the Senate, and each will serve a single 6-
year term. Our colleague, Senator Mitch McConnell, deserves great 
credit for originating this idea which I think is going to bring great 
value in years later, as other Congresses meet to consider ways to 
achieve the goal of making it easier to vote and harder to corrupt the 
system. That commission, which we will establish with this bill, will 
serve a very valuable purpose, where election officials from across the 
country can get unbiased advice and counseling as to what is the best 
equipment and material to have in order to improve the election system.
  The Election Administration Commission will eventually administer the 
minimum requirements and grant programs to fund them. It will also 
serve as a national clearinghouse and resource for information on 
election administration.
  Finally, our legislation provides Federal funding to States and 
localities. For the very first time, again, the Congress and the 
Federal Government will start paying their fair share of the cost of 
administering elections for Federal office. I don't believe in having 
Federal minimum requirements, as logical and as sensible as they are, 
and not coming up with the resources to our States and localities to 
pay for them. We do that.

  The Senate bill authorizes a total of $3.5 billion towards this end: 
$3 billion with no matching requirement over 4 years for the purpose of 
funding the requirements; $400 million in this fiscal year for an 
incentive grant program to allow States and localities to immediately 
fund improvements to their voting systems and election administration 
procedures, including education programs and other such provisions that 
States may see as being in their interest.
  We also authorize $100 million for an accessibility grant program to 
help make polling places physically accessible to the blind and 
disabled in this country.
  This generous commitment of Federal resources underscores the fact 
that nothing in this bill establishes an unfunded mandate on States or 
localities. We give States and localities the resources as well as the 
flexibility they need to get the job done. We recognize that State and 
local election officials are uniquely qualified to determine what 
voting systems and procedures are most appropriate for their individual 
States and communities.
  Importantly, in passing this bill, Congress will also meet the first 
civil rights challenge of the 21st century. During our hearings on 
election reform, our committee heard repeated testimony regarding the 
disproportionate treatment minorities received at the polls in the 2000 
elections: African-American men asked about felony convictions; Arab 
Americans forced to produce citizenship papers or to take a loyalty 
oath; Hispanic Americans failing to receive language assistance 
required by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The committee also received 
disturbing testimony regarding the disenfranchisement of Americans with 
disabilities.
  There are 21 million Americans with disabilities who did not vote in 
the last election. This makes the disabled community, persons with 
disabilities, the single largest demographic group of nonvoters in the 
United States of America, 21 million. We hope that with the provisions 
I have already mentioned in this bill, we will see that number, if not 
disappear entirely, certainly be reduced considerably.
  The General Accounting Office found that only 16 percent of all 
polling places in the contiguous United States are physically 
accessible from the parking area to the voting room. Not one of the 496 
polling places visited by the General Accounting Office on election day 
2000 had special ballots or voting equipment adapted for blind voters.
  Certain voters and communities are disproportionately affected by the 
inadequacies in our voting systems and election administration policies 
and procedures. As evidenced by testimony received by the Rules 
Committee and numerous commission reports and studies, racial and 
ethnic minorities, language minorities, disabled voters, overseas and 
military voters, and poor communities all encountered unique and 
disproportionate problems with the November 2000 elections--and 
elections before then, I might add--even after accounting for the 
effects of income, education, and poor ballot design.
  For example, the General Accounting Office found that both a 
jurisdiction's voting equipment and its demographic makeup had a 
statistically significant effect on the percentage of uncounted votes. 
The General Accounting Office found that counties with higher 
percentages of minority voters had higher rates of uncounted votes.

  The GAO also reported that percentages of uncounted Presidential 
votes were higher in minority areas than others, regardless of voting 
equipment.
  These findings underscore the importance of instituting minimum 
Federal requirements that will ensure that all voters have an equal 
opportunity to vote and have their vote counted.
  By passing this bipartisan election reform bill, the Senate will help 
ensure that every single eligible American has the equal opportunity to 
both cast a vote and, of course, have their vote counted.
  Let me be as clear as I can: Nothing in this bill or in this debate 
is intended to call into question the results of the November 2000 
Presidential election. This legislation is not about the past, it is 
about the future of our democracy. I hope my colleagues will agree that 
this bill, while not a perfect piece of legislation--it does not deal 
with every imaginable election reform proposal--is a solid bill. It is 
a good bill. It is a bill that took a lot of hours and a lot of 
compromise between people committed to seeing to it that we improve a 
system that is so fundamental to the workings of our democracy.
  The House has already enacted comprehensive election reform. I 
commend Congressman Steny Hoyer and Congressman Ney, who worked very 
hard to put together a bill that they could pass, and we will have to 
meet with them and resolve differences if we are able to ultimately 
pass the bill that Senator McConnell and I present to the Senate today.
  Certainly the President also deserves a great deal of credit. He 
could have sat back and not included anything in his budget and said: 
Let's wait and see what you do up there, if you can get something done, 
and then talk to me. But the President included $1.2 billion in the 
budget he submitted several weeks ago for election reform. I thank him 
in this Chamber; I have done so elsewhere. It is not all the resources 
we will need, but it is a major commitment by the President of the 
United States to this issue. Our hope is that we can get our job done 
and get a bill passed and then take advantage of the offer made by the 
President in his budget proposal.
  Finally, we believe this compromise is constitutionally sound. The 
compromise is squarely within the broad grant of congressional 
authority to legislate in the subject area of the administration of 
Federal elections. The GAO concluded that with regard to the 
administration of Federal elections, Congress has constitutional 
authority over both congressional and Presidential elections.
  Again, I thank my colleagues who labored so hard. I thank Tom Daschle 
and Trent Lott, our respective leaders, for allowing this bill to come 
to the floor; our staffs, for their tireless work; and again, my 
colleagues, Mitch McConnell, Kit Bond, Chuck Schumer, Bob Torricelli, 
and many others who have expressed their views and thoughts on this 
legislation.
  I thank the witnesses who testified before our committee.
  Finally, a very special thanks is reserved for my friend, John 
Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and my 
coauthor in the House of the original election reform legislation. His 
commitment to this issue is unparalleled.
  With that, I conclude with the words I opened with of Dr. Martin 
Luther King:

       The history of our Nation is the history of a long and 
     tireless effort to broaden and to increase the franchise of 
     American citizens.


[[Page S712]]


  Today, when we gather to discuss this reform measure, we are 
fulfilling the commitment Martin Luther King suggested in his words 40 
years ago--to broaden and increase that franchise.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Johnson). The Senator from Kentucky is 
recognized.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, in the context of human history, it was 
not so long ago that the mere concept of having the right to vote was 
scarcely imaginable for most people. Even in America, the world's 
greatest democracy, half our citizenry was denied the right to vote 
until the 19th amendment was ratified early in the 20th century.
  At the outset of the 21st century, we still have work to do to ensure 
that all Americans who are eligible to vote, who have the right to 
vote, do indeed have their votes counted on election day--counted, I 
hasten to add, within an election system in which the integrity of the 
process is not in question, so voters can know their right to vote is 
not diminished through fraud committed by others, nor diminished 
through error, poor procedures, or faulty equipment.
  This is the mission that Senator Dodd, Senator Bond, Senator  
Schumer, Senator Torricelli, and I tasked ourselves with in crafting 
the bipartisan legislation before the Senate today. We sought to make 
American election systems more accurate, more accessible, and more 
honest. And we worked to achieve these ambitious goals within the 
framework of legislation which both sides of the aisle could support 
and which would not financially crush the states who will be changed 
with its implementation.
  None of us got everything we wanted in this bill, not even close. 
There are things in this bill that one or more of us are not big fans 
of. But that was the price for putting this bipartisan bill together.
  The Dodd-McConnell bill is a comprehensive compromise. In other 
words, it is a target-rich environment for amendments--legitimate, 
germane, relevant, even laudable efforts to make the bill better, or 
worse, depending on one's perspective. I myself could easily come up 
with a couple dozen amendments. My staff already has, just in case. If 
the Senate passed them all we would, in my view, have crafted the 
perfect election reform bill.
  Regrettably, we all have different notions of what comprises 
perfection in this realm. So in the interest of advancing a pretty darn 
good election reform bill, I will not be offering my two dozen 
meticulously-crafted, well-intentioned amendments to make the bill 
absolutely perfect.
  Senator Bond, who has done tremendous work in making sure that the 
effort to make voting easier is balanced with provisions to make vote 
fraud harder, could certainly offer up some excellent amendments to go 
further in that direction. I think the Senate should do more to reduce 
vote fraud but, realistically, we are not going to get everything we 
want in that regard through this Senate. The Dodd-McConnell bill does a 
lot which is worthwhile, overdue and, significantly, is doable.
  This quest for election reform has its roots in the photofinish 2000 
presidential election that culminated in the protracted battle over 
Florida's electoral votes. While that saga was playing out, some of us 
in the Senate began formulating reform legislation to make a recurrence 
less likely in the future and to make improvements in the system that 
election officials in the states have long known needed to be made but 
for a variety of reasons, primiarly financial, were not done. Over a 
year ago, Senator Torricelli and I proposed a comprehensive election 
reform bill. Last May, Senator Torricelli and I joined with Senator 
Schumer to put together yet another bill. The McConnell-Schumer-
Torricelli bill garnered even more bipartisan support with a remarkable 
cosponsorship list of 71 cosponsors, a solid roster fairly even between 
Republicans and Democrats. Senator Dodd, meanwhile, headed up an effort 
that had much in common with the McConnell-Schumer-Torricelli approach, 
but was distinct in important ways, and gathered all the Democrats 
behind it. Between our bills and others introduced in the past year, we 
come into this floor debate with over 90 Senators having cosponsored 
some version of election reform. That is a ringing, approaching 
unanimous, endorsement for serious election reform.
  All of my colleagues who have worked to advance election reform and 
get us to this point deserve thanks. Most especially, Senator Dodd, the 
Chairman of the Rules Committee, whose dogged determination to put 
together a consensus these past few months has paid off. He was so 
focused in pursuit of a bill that as the weeks were going by in 
December without an agreement, it occurred to me that he would never 
let up and I might have to spend Christmas around his conference table. 
Fortunately, there is a Santa Claus and his present to me was a ticket 
home to Kentucky for Christmas, a bipartisan election reform bill in 
the can, and Chris Dodd off my back. I say that, of course, with humor 
and only the greatest respect for the chairman's tireless effort.
  The Dodd-McConnell bill is legislation that the entire Senate can be 
proud of supporting, and pass knowing that it would significantly 
improve America's election systems. Americans should also take note 
that the chairman is a champion in promoting accessibility in 
elections, a real hero to America's disabled community for whom the 
right to vote can be difficult to exercise. This bill reflects his 
commitment in this respect as well. The Dodd-McConnell bill before the 
Senate incorporates three key principles contained within the original 
McConnell-Torricelli bill put together over a year ago.
  No. 1, Respect for the primary role of the States and localities in 
election administration. The Constitution's 10th amendment too often 
get short-shrift around here, but we tried mightily in this compromise 
to respect it. I will say this bill treads more than I would like on 
state prerogative but it does so a good deal less than with some of the 
interest groups out there would like and which some other bills have 
proposed.
  No. 2, Establishment of an independent, bipartisan commission--
comprised of two Democrats and two Republicans appointed by the 
President--to provide ongoing election assistance to the states, in the 
form of grants and as a clearinghouse for information on new 
technologies and effective election procedures.
  The point to this, in my view, was to have one place in the country, 
a repository of objective advice, where State and local officials, who 
are constantly confronted by vendors trying to sell them one election 
system or another, could go for objective advice. Nobody is selling 
anything at this commission--just giving objective advice about what 
kind of upgrade, if any, is necessary to improve the election system in 
a particular State.
  As Chairman Dodd can attest, I fervently believe that for long-term 
reform of election systems, we need a permanent repository for the 
best, unbiased, objective information that states can tap into the 
future. At present, the typical county-level or State official is 
besieged by commercial vendors who want to sell their product, 
balloting machines and the other implements of election administration. 
The new commission in the Dodd-McConnell bill will provide objective, 
state-of-the-art information that can be weighed against whatever sales 
pitch is coming from vendors.
  No. 3, Strong anti-fraud provisions to clean-up voter rolls and 
ensure integrity in American elections.
  We want eligible people to vote. Dogs, cats and cadavers are making 
far too many appearances in American elections, even though a 
constitutional amendment giving them a right to vote has not been 
enacted.
  As good as the Dodd-McConnell bill is, and as high as my hopes are 
that it will result in much better election systems in America, we 
should temper somewhat the expectations it may raise. We cannot 
legislate perfection in this arena. Voters are imperfect people whose 
ballots are counted by imperfect people and tabulated by machines 
created and maintained by imperfect people. If in the future another 
presidential election comes down to the wire, with an electorate 
comprised of hundreds of millions of people virtually evenly split in 
their candidate preference, then there could well be some controversy 
in arriving at a conclusion.
  In the meantime, the Dodd-McConnell bill would go a long way in 
making

[[Page S713]]

elections better, more accessible, more accurate and more honest. And 
it would prevent some of the chaos in close, competitive elections. If 
we can do that, I would call that a pretty good day's work in the 
Senate.

  Again, I compliment Chairman Dodd for his persistence in getting us 
to the point we are, and I thank particularly Senator Bond, Senator 
Schumer, and Senator Torricelli.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I urge my colleagues to support the 
compromise amendment in the nature of a substitute to S. 565, the Equal 
Protection of Voting Rights Act of 2001. I am proud to join Senators 
Dodd, McConnell, Schumer, Bond, and Torricelli in co-sponsoring this 
historic piece of legislation designed to improve our Nation's voting 
practices and procedures. I am glad that we are addressing this issue 
now, and hope that legislation is enacted soon. In many states, voters 
will go to the polls this year using much of the same equipment as was 
used in 2000, which will result in many of the same problems. Our 
purpose here today is to prevent the problems of the Year 2000 election 
from occurring in the future.
  While we all remember the ``butterfly ballots'' and ``hanging chads'' 
of Florida, we must also consider the facts that show the problems of 
Election 2000 were nationwide. In Chicago and Cook County, Illinois, 
nearly 123,000 presidential votes went uncounted, and in Fulton County, 
Georgia, one of every 16 ballots for president was invalidated. The 
General Accounting Office found that 57 percent of jurisdictions 
nationwide had major problems in Election 2000. The MIT/Caltech Voting 
Project estimates that 4 to 6 million votes were lost. During two 
hearings by the Senate Commerce Committee, our witnesses testified that 
many of these problems were caused by outdated and inaccurate lever and 
punch card voting machines, distinct inadequacies in poll worker and 
voter education, and confusion over election administration and voting 
registration procedures. I believe that the mandatory standards and 
federal grant programs found in the compromise amendment I am 
cosponsoring will play an important role in resolving these problems in 
the future.
  However, I am concerned that this bill will not address the concerns 
of disabled voters, who time and again confront physical barriers when 
they attempt to vote. Disabled voters should not be forced to bring 
their own ramps to polling places, go through alternative entrances, 
and put up with numerous other barriers and humiliations when they 
attempt to vote. According to a 2001 General Accounting Office report, 
84 percent of all polling places in the contiguous United States have 
one or more potential impediments to disabled voters. While many of 
these polling places use curbside voting, many disabled voters complain 
that curbside voting infringes on their privacy, when they cast a 
ballot. So instead of voting, many disabled Americans simply stay home. 
According to the National Organization on Disability, 21 million voting 
age citizens with disabilities did not vote. President Alan Reich of 
the National Organization on Disability summed it up best, when he 
stated that ``there is great irony that a person in a wheelchair can't 
get into some polling places, whereas a person using a guide dog can 
get inside, only to find out there is no accessible voting machine.'' I 
intend to offer a minor technical amendment to this legislation that I 
hope will resolve many of these concerns. I urge my colleagues to join 
me in addressing this issue.
  I look forward to working with my colleagues on this historic 
legislation. This legislation should be addressed in a timely manner by 
the Senate, and I hope that the conference with the House can also be 
resolved soon, so that we can send a bill to the President for his 
signature. I am afraid that it is already too late to do much to help 
voters for the 2002 election, but we can and must make sure that the 
problems of Election 2000 are not repeated in 2004.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. ALLARD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                Amendment No. 2858 to Amendment No. 2688

  Mr. ALLARD. Mr. President, I have an amendment numbered 2858 at the 
desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Colorado [Mr. Allard], for himself and Mr. 
     Smith of New Hampshire, Mr. Gramm, Mr. Allen, Mr. Roberts, 
     Mr. Cochran, Ms. Collins, and Mr. Lugar, proposes an 
     amendment numbered 2858 to amendment No. 2688.

  Mr. ALLARD. I ask unanimous consent reading of the amendment be 
dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

 (Purpose: To clarify the standard for invalidation of ballots cast by 
absent uniformed services voters in Federal elections, to maximize the 
access of recently separated uniformed services voters to the polls, to 
    prohibit the refusal of voter registration and absentee ballot 
 applications on grounds of early submission, and to distribute copies 
           of the Federal military voter laws to the States)

       On page 68, between lines 2 and 3, insert the following:

              TITLE IV--UNIFORMED SERVICES ELECTION REFORM

     SEC. 401. STANDARD FOR INVALIDATION OF BALLOTS CAST BY ABSENT 
                   UNIFORMED SERVICES VOTERS IN FEDERAL ELECTIONS.

       (a) In General.--Section 102 of the Uniformed and Overseas 
     Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1), as amended 
     by section 1606(a)(1) of the National Defense Authorization 
     Act for Fiscal Year 2002 (Public Law 107-107; 115 Stat. 
     1278), is amended--
       (1) by striking ``Each State'' and inserting ``(a) In 
     General.--Each State''; and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(b) Standards for Invalidation of Certain Ballots.--
       ``(1) In general.--A State may not refuse to count a ballot 
     submitted in an election for Federal office by an absent 
     uniformed services voter--
       ``(A) solely on the grounds that the ballot lacked--
       ``(i) a notarized witness signature;
       ``(ii) an address (other than on a Federal write-in 
     absentee ballot, commonly known as `SF186');
       ``(iii) a postmark if there are any other indicia that the 
     vote was cast in a timely manner; or
       ``(iv) an overseas postmark; or
       ``(B) solely on the basis of a comparison of signatures on 
     ballots, envelopes, or registration forms unless there is a 
     lack of reasonable similarity between the signatures.
       ``(2) No effect on filing deadlines under state law.--
     Nothing in this subsection may be construed to affect the 
     application to ballots submitted by absent uniformed services 
     voters of any ballot submission deadline applicable under 
     State law.''.
       (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by subsection (a) 
     shall apply with respect to ballots described in section 
     102(b) of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting 
     Act (as added by such subsection) that are submitted with 
     respect to elections that occur after the date of enactment 
     of this Act.

     SEC. 402. MAXIMIZATION OF ACCESS OF RECENTLY SEPARATED 
                   UNIFORMED SERVICES VOTERS TO THE POLLS.

       (a) In General.--Section 102(a) of the Uniformed and 
     Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1), 
     as amended by section 401(a) of this Act and section 
     1606(a)(1) of the National Defense Authorization Act for 
     Fiscal Year 2002 (Public Law 107-107; 115 Stat. 1278), is 
     amended--
       (1) in paragraph (3), by striking ``and'' after the 
     semicolon at the end;
       (2) in paragraph (4), by striking the period at the end and 
     inserting a semicolon; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
       ``(5) in addition to using the postcard form for the 
     purpose described in paragraph (4), accept and process any 
     otherwise valid voter registration application submitted by a 
     uniformed service voter for the purpose of voting in an 
     election for Federal office; and
       ``(6) permit each recently separated uniformed services 
     voter to vote in any election for which a voter registration 
     application has been accepted and processed under this 
     section if that voter--
       ``(A) has registered to vote under this section; and
       ``(B) is eligible to vote in that election under State 
     law.''.
       (b) Definitions.--Section 107 of the Uniformed and Overseas 
     Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff-6) is 
     amended--
       (1) by redesignating paragraphs (7) and (8) as paragraphs 
     (9) and (10), respectively;
       (2) by inserting after paragraph (6) the following new 
     paragraph:
       ``(7) The term `recently separated uniformed services 
     voter' means any individual who was a uniformed services 
     voter on the date that is 60 days before the date on which 
     the individual seeks to vote and who--
       ``(A) presents to the election official Department of 
     Defense form 214 evidencing their former status as such a 
     voter, or any other official proof of such status;

[[Page S714]]

       ``(B) is no longer such a voter; and
       ``(C) is otherwise qualified to vote in that election.'';
       (3) by redesignating paragraph (10) (as redesignated by 
     paragraph (1)) as paragraph (11); and
       (4) by inserting after paragraph (9) the following new 
     paragraph:
       ``(10) The term `uniformed services voter' means--
       ``(A) a member of a uniformed service in active service;
       ``(B) a member of the merchant marine; and
       ``(C) a spouse or dependent of a member referred to in 
     subparagraph (A) or (B) who is qualified to vote.''.
       (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall apply with respect to elections for Federal office that 
     occur after the date of enactment of this Act.

     SEC. 403. PROHIBITION OF REFUSAL OF VOTER REGISTRATION AND 
                   ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATIONS ON GROUNDS OF 
                   EARLY SUBMISSION.

       (a) In General.--Section 104 of the Uniformed and Overseas 
     Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff-3), as amended 
     by section 1606(b) of the National Defense Authorization Act 
     for Fiscal Year 2002 (Public Law 107-107; 115 Stat. 1279), is 
     amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
       ``(e) Prohibition of Refusal of Applications on Grounds of 
     Early Submission.--A State may not refuse to accept or 
     process, with respect to any election for Federal office, any 
     otherwise valid voter registration application or absentee 
     ballot application (including the postcard form prescribed 
     under section 101) submitted by an absent uniformed services 
     voter during a year on the grounds that the voter submitted 
     the application before the first date on which the State 
     otherwise accepts or processes such applications for that 
     year submitted by absentee voters who are not members of the 
     uniformed services.''.
       (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a) 
     shall apply with respect to elections for Federal office that 
     occur after the date of enactment of this Act.

     SEC. 404. DISTRIBUTION OF FEDERAL MILITARY VOTER LAWS TO THE 
                   STATES.

       Not later than the date that is 60 days after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense (in this 
     section referred to as the ``Secretary''), as part of any 
     voting assistance program conducted by the Secretary, shall 
     distribute to each State (as defined in section 107 of the 
     Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 
     U.S.C. 1973ff-6) enough copies of the Federal military voting 
     laws (as identified by the Secretary) so that the State is 
     able to distribute a copy of such laws to each jurisdiction 
     of the State.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.


                Amendment No. 2861 to Amendment No. 2858

  Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. Mr. President, I send a second-degree 
amendment to the Allard amendment to the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. Smith] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 2861 to amendment No. 2858.

  Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. I ask unanimous consent reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

 (Purpose: To clarify the standard for invalidation of ballots cast by 
absent uniformed services voters in Federal elections, to maximize the 
access of recently separated uniformed services voters to the polls, to 
    prohibit the refusal of voter registration and absentee ballot 
 applications on grounds of early submission, and to distribute copies 
           of the Federal military voter laws to the States)

       Strike ``SEC. 401.'' and all that follows and insert the 
     following:

         STANDARD FOR INVALIDATION OF BALLOTS CAST BY ABSENT 
                   UNIFORMED SERVICES VOTERS IN FEDERAL ELECTIONS.

       (a) In General.--Section 102 of the Uniformed and Overseas 
     Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1), as amended 
     by section 1606(a)(1) of the National Defense Authorization 
     Act for Fiscal Year 2002 (Public Law 107-107; 115 Stat. 
     1278), is amended--
       (1) by striking ``Each State'' and inserting ``(a) In 
     General.--Each State''; and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(b) Standards for Invalidation of Certain Ballots.--
       ``(1) In general.--A State may not refuse to count a ballot 
     submitted in an election for Federal office by an absent 
     uniformed services voter--
       ``(A) solely on the grounds that the ballot lacked--
       ``(i) a notarized witness signature;
       ``(ii) an address (other than on a Federal write-in 
     absentee ballot, commonly known as `SF186');
       ``(iii) a postmark if there are any other indicia that the 
     vote was cast in a timely manner; or
       ``(iv) an overseas postmark; or
       ``(B) solely on the basis of a comparison of signatures on 
     ballots, envelopes, or registration forms unless there is a 
     lack of reasonable similarity between the signatures.
       ``(2) No effect on filing deadlines under state law.--
     Nothing in this subsection may be construed to affect the 
     application to ballots submitted by absent uniformed services 
     voters of any ballot submission deadline applicable under 
     State law.''.
       (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by subsection (a) 
     shall apply with respect to ballots described in section 
     102(b) of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting 
     Act (as added by such subsection) that are submitted with 
     respect to elections that occur after the date of enactment 
     of this Act.

     SEC. 402. MAXIMIZATION OF ACCESS OF RECENTLY SEPARATED 
                   UNIFORMED SERVICES VOTERS TO THE POLLS.

       (a) In General.--Section 102(a) of the Uniformed and 
     Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1), 
     as amended by section 401(a) of this Act and section 
     1606(a)(1) of the National Defense Authorization Act for 
     Fiscal Year 2002 (Public Law 107-107; 115 Stat. 1278), is 
     amended--
       (1) in paragraph (3), by striking ``and'' after the 
     semicolon at the end;
       (2) in paragraph (4), by striking the period at the end and 
     inserting a semicolon; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
       ``(5) in addition to using the postcard form for the 
     purpose described in paragraph (4), accept and process any 
     otherwise valid voter registration application submitted by a 
     uniformed service voter for the purpose of voting in an 
     election for Federal office; and
       ``(6) permit each recently separated uniformed services 
     voter to vote in any election for which a voter registration 
     application has been accepted and processed under this 
     section if that voter--
       ``(A) has registered to vote under this section; and
       ``(B) is eligible to vote in that election under State 
     law.''.
       (b) Definitions.--Section 107 of the Uniformed and Overseas 
     Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff-6) is 
     amended--
       (1) by redesignating paragraphs (7) and (8) as paragraphs 
     (9) and (10), respectively;
       (2) by inserting after paragraph (6) the following new 
     paragraph:
       ``(7) The term `recently separated uniformed services 
     voter' means any individual who was a uniformed services 
     voter on the date that is 60 days before the date on which 
     the individual seeks to vote and who--
       ``(A) presents to the election official Department of 
     Defense form 214 evidencing their former status as such a 
     voter, or any other official proof of such status;
       ``(B) is no longer such a voter; and
       ``(C) is otherwise qualified to vote in that election.'';
       (3) by redesignating paragraph (10) (as redesignated by 
     paragraph (1)) as paragraph (11); and
       (4) by inserting after paragraph (9) the following new 
     paragraph:
       ``(10) The term `uniformed services voter' means--
       ``(A) a member of a uniformed service in active service;
       ``(B) a member of the merchant marine; and
       ``(C) a spouse or dependent of a member referred to in 
     subparagraph (A) or (B) who is qualified to vote.''.
       (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall apply with respect to elections for Federal office that 
     occur after the date of enactment of this Act.

     SEC. 403. PROHIBITION OF REFUSAL OF VOTER REGISTRATION AND 
                   ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATIONS ON GROUNDS OF 
                   EARLY SUBMISSION.

       (a) In General.--Section 104 of the Uniformed and Overseas 
     Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff-3), as amended 
     by section 1606(b) of the National Defense Authorization Act 
     for Fiscal Year 2002 (Public Law 107-107; 115 Stat. 1279), is 
     amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
       ``(e) Prohibition of Refusal of Applications on Grounds of 
     Early Submission.--A State may not refuse to accept or 
     process, with respect to any election for Federal office, any 
     otherwise valid voter registration application or absentee 
     ballot application (including the postcard form prescribed 
     under section 101) submitted by an absent uniformed services 
     voter during a year on the grounds that the voter submitted 
     the application before the first date on which the State 
     otherwise accepts or processes such applications for that 
     year submitted by absentee voters who are not members of the 
     uniformed services.''.
       (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a) 
     shall apply with respect to elections for Federal office that 
     occur after the date of enactment of this Act.

     SEC. 404. DISTRIBUTION OF FEDERAL MILITARY VOTER LAWS TO THE 
                   STATES.

       Not later than the date that is 60 days after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense (in this 
     section referred to as the ``Secretary''), as part of any 
     voting assistance program conducted by the Secretary, shall 
     distribute to each State (as defined in section 107 of the 
     Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 
     U.S.C. 1973ff-6) enough copies of the Federal military voting 
     laws (as identified by the Secretary) so that the State is 
     able to distribute a copy of such laws to each jurisdiction 
     of the State.

[[Page S715]]

     SEC. 405. EFFECTIVE DATES.

       Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this title, 
     each effective date otherwise provided under this title shall 
     take effect 1 day after such effective date.

  Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. I am pleased to join with the Senator 
from Colorado in sponsoring this important amendment to reserve voting 
rights for our service men and women.
  I yield the floor to the sponsor.
  Mr. DODD. Is the amendment of the Senator from New Hampshire the same 
amendment as the amendment of the Senator from Colorado?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Yes.
  The Senator from Colorado.
  Mr. ALLARD. Mr. President, I am pleased that the Senate is addressing 
the matter of election reform. Like carpenters tending to their tools 
or fishermen working on their nets, this Nation's government must 
constantly maintain and improve the voting rights of American citizens, 
the very basis of our democracy.
  I am pleased with the work of Senators McConnell and Dodd and others 
on the bill before us. Nobody who has ever participated in an election 
in any serious way, running, campaigning, judging, and so on, would 
believe that our system is perfect. It is based on a sound framework, 
but the devil in the details requires constant exorcism.
  Today we are moving to address in this body various problems that 
have come to our attention, some of them alarmingly so in the November 
2000 elections.
  I have been in contact with the Colorado Secretary of State, and 
local election officials, and I know that there are problems on a 
federal level, on the state level, and the local level. Everybody from 
county clerks to Senate Rules Committee chairmen have recognized the 
faults that currently call for correction.
  As a Member of the Senate Armed Services, I paid special attention to 
the complaints I heard from our uniformed services men and women. 
Without undue politicalization, I believe it is appropriate to at least 
allude to the spectacle of campaign lawyers hovering over election 
officials with pre-printed military absentee ballot challenge forms. I 
understand that in an election every opportunity available will be 
utilized. I think, however, that this body should undertake efforts to 
ensure that military service men and women are given all due chances to 
exercise their right to vote.
  Now, this body has tried to do so. Last year, during consideration of 
the Defense Authorization, the Senate passed a bipartisan amendment 
strongly supported by Chairman Dodd and Senator McConnell that 
significantly improved the voting rights of military service members. I 
was pleased at this passage, and so were the various military support 
groups, veterans organizations, and others who contacted me with their 
notes of encouragement and support.
  Unfortunately, in conference the House refused to accept two of the 
provisions. I believe their position on this matter was not the correct 
one. I think they were seriously wrong. And so we must try again.
  My current amendment, cosponsored by Senators Bob Smith, Phil Gramm, 
Allen, Roberts, Cochran, Collins, and Lugar, is another attempt to 
legislate protection for our military voter's franchise.
  The first section prohibits a State from disqualifying a ballot based 
upon lack of notarization, postmark, address, witness signature, lack 
of proper postmark, or on the basis of comparison of envelope, ballot 
and registration signatures alone, these were the basis for most 
absentee ballot challenges.
  There has been report after report of ballots mailed, for instance 
from deployed ships or other distant postings, without the benefit of 
postmarking facilities. Sometimes mail is bundled, and the whole group 
gets one postmark, which could invalidate them all under current law. 
Further, military ``voting officers'' are usually junior ranks, quickly 
trained, and facing numerous other responsibilities.
  We can not punish our service personnel for the good faith mistakes 
of others.
  The second section addresses a certain group of voters who can slip 
through the cracks. Military voters who are discharged and move before 
an election but after the residency deadline cannot vote through the 
military absentee ballot system, and sometimes are not able to fulfill 
deadlines to establish residency in a State.
  This language allows them to register absentee and vote in person at 
their new polling place. This brings military voters into their new 
community quicker.
  The third section contains language denying States the ability to 
deny a military ballot because it is mailed in too early. There are 
very good administrative reasons why early ballots are prohibited in 
some cases, but there are better reasons why we should offer uniform 
voters--who are subject to rapid deployments, temporary duties, and 
unexpected assignment changes, the option to secure their vote by 
mailing their ballot when they can, even if it is early.
  Finally, given all the changes considered and passed by the Congress 
in various vehicles, I have included language directing the DoD to mail 
a copy of current military voter laws to every state to be distributed 
to each voting jurisdiction. I think it would be a good idea to assist 
State Secretaries of States in their duties and clarify Congressional 
intent by codifying all the modifications.
  Given the current deployment schedule of our armed forces, I can 
conceive of no time more urgent than the present to let our men and 
women in uniform know that the government of the Unites States will not 
tolerate any appearance of a challenge to their voting rights. I urge 
acceptance of this amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. Mr. President, I rise in strong support 
of Senator Allard's efforts to protect the voting rights of our 
military men and women. It would be a pretty empty debate on election 
reform if the Senate ignored the discrimination that military voters 
suffered in the last Presidential election and, indeed, I would say 
probably have suffered in the past, in prior elections.
  I visited Afghanistan just a month or so ago and saw the 
circumstances that those men and women were under out there. Had that 
been at election time, I can imagine how difficult it might have been 
to make all the arrangements to get ballots to these people, get these 
ballots out, get them back, and have them counted on time. I think it 
is important to understand it is the spirit and intent that matters. If 
a person is trying to get his or her ballot in and it gets in a day or 
so late but it is in time to be counted, then we ought to err on the 
side of caution for the military person who is out there putting his or 
her life on the line for us every day.
  I can speak from firsthand experience. I was aboard a ship during the 
Vietnam war. Although that was not an election time at the time I was 
out at sea, there were periods of time when we were out at sea for 3 
weeks, sometimes longer, with no access to any mail or the opportunity 
to get any mail off the ship. So had I been in a situation where the 
Presidential election or any other election was going on during that 
time, there may have been a time when I might not have been able to get 
a ballot off the ship. So I think we have to err on the side of caution 
and make absolutely certain we go out of our way to make sure these 
ballots are counted.
  That is what the Allard-Smith amendment is. I am proud to support it 
and proud to have my second-degree amendment to be sure we get a vote 
on this very important measure.
  The uniformed services election reform amendment is a comprehensive 
package for all of our military voters. Section 401 of the amendment 
provides, for example, that a State may not disqualify a military 
absentee ballot for some technical reason.
  Stop to think about it. Maybe somebody didn't put his name on right 
or something--some technical reason. Think about the circumstances 
where, for a smudge, for example, or something might be a technical 
violation, that ballot could have come out of the mud of Afghanistan, 
making its way perhaps through rain or sleet or snow or some other way 
to get to a vehicle, perhaps to a helicopter and then out of there and 
over to some other location where it can eventually make its way back 
to Florida or Colorado or New

[[Page S716]]

Hampshire or wherever the votes are supposed to be counted. That is a 
long trek through some very difficult conditions sometimes.
  I think it is sad that this new provision of law is necessary. 
Really, reasonable people ought to make reasonable efforts to count the 
ballots of our military. We saw, unfortunately, that didn't happen. In 
Florida, military voters were systematically disen-
franchised and there was an organized effort even to refuse to count 
these ballots. I find that outrageous. There is some irony that all 
this effort took place in Florida, to disenfranchise military voters, 
and now look what happened just 9 months later, 9-11. I wonder what 
some of those same people who refused to count military ballots and 
were looking for excuses not to count them might be saying right now.
  There are no allegations of military voter fraud. That is not the 
issue. There is a difference between fraud and trying to disqualify 
ballots for every technical reason that comes down the pipe. Yet 
military votes were disqualified in the last Presidential election.
  If, for example, someone was out at sea and the mail call was missed 
by an hour and because the mail call was missed by an hour a ballot may 
not get to the returning ship for another week or so, or perhaps even--
whatever, a couple of days or weeks or whatever, and because they 
missed that one mail call, that means they can't get that ballot in. If 
it comes in a day late or an hour late or whatever, is it the intent, 
is it the right thing to do to count that person's ballot? Of course 
the answer is yes.
  Section 402 provides new protections to recently separated uniformed 
service voters as well. It protects the rights of military voters to 
register to vote and request absentee ballots. It provides that the 
Secretary of Defense provide to the States new laws on military voting.
  On April 6, I introduced a bill entitled the ``Armed Forces Voting 
Rights Protection Act of 2001.'' This bill provides an amendment to the 
Voting Rights Act of 1965, to protect against a discriminated class of 
voter--the military voter. Isn't it somewhat tragic and ironic that the 
military voter is discriminated against?
  Senator Allard's amendment is more comprehensive than mine, and I am 
more than pleased to support his comprehensive effort to protect the 
voting rights of the military. The reason why the pending amendment is 
needed is because current law failed members of the Armed Forces in the 
last Federal election.
  We are not making allegations against anybody about fraud. It needs 
to be tightened up so we can make it work so the military folks get the 
benefit of the doubt.
  Federal law allowed military voters to be disenfranchised in the 
State of Florida. The pending amendment would stop discrimination 
against our military men and women.
  Over time, the Federal Government has increased protection of the 
voting rights of military personnel who serve overseas. Several Federal 
laws have been enacted since 1942 to enable those in the military and 
U.S. citizens who live abroad to vote in Federal elections.
  The Soldier Voting Act of 1942 was the first attempt to guarantee 
Federal voting rights for members of the armed services, and that law 
only applied during wartime. But members of the armed services were 
provided the use of a postage free, Federal postcard application to 
request that absentee ballot.
  Again, when the request comes in, when you send that request out, are 
you in a position to get that ballot and mail it out promptly? Not if 
you are out on some bivouac for a week someplace or you are out in a 
combat zone somewhere for a month and you don't get back. It may not be 
convenient for you to get it back that quickly. So we need to get them 
out there promptly so they can get these ballots filled in and sent 
back. That expired at the end of World War II.
  In 1986 President Reagan signed the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens 
Voting Act, which required the United States to permit uniformed 
services voters, their spouses and dependents, and overseas voters who 
no longer maintain a residence in the U.S., to register absentee and 
vote by absentee ballot for all elections for Federal office.
  These Federal laws were insufficient to protect our men and women in 
the last election because many of these military voters were 
disenfranchised by canvassing boards throughout the State of Florida.
  Anyway, the pending amendment fixes Federal law to prevent this 
discrimination. Whether it is accidental or intentional, it does 
discriminate against military voters stationed overseas. This law would 
fix that law.
  Over 1,500 overseas ballots were challenged in the State of Florida 
during the election in 2000.
  Think about that: 1,500 military ballots changed most of the time on 
technicalities, and many of those military men and women who served our 
country in some hostile environment were disenfranchised.
  In Tallahassee in November of 2000, Robert Ingram, who was awarded a 
medal for heroism as a Navy corpsman serving in the Marines in Vietnam, 
said the following about Florida elections boards:

       They need to count the votes for service people abroad.

  It seems to me that to even allow one military ballot to be 
disqualified on a technical reason is really outrageous.
  According to the Miami Herald of November 26, 2000:

       Many canvassing boards have said, however, they followed 
     State law to the letter in disqualifying overseas ballots 
     with no signature, no witness, incorrect address, no postmark 
     or date and a variety of other problems.

  Let me focus on one from my own personal experience. When I was 
aboard ship, you would give a letter to the so-called mailperson on the 
ship. If he didn't take that down and postmark it that particular day, 
he might carry it around for a couple or 3 days. Why? Because the mail 
is not picked up from off the ship. It doesn't happen until you enter 
port. If you are not going to enter port for 3 days, why postmark it 
the day it was picked up from you as the person who is mailing the 
letter?
  That is what could happen. That is one example of why the postmark 
should not be a criteria for why we take a person's right to vote. The 
pending amendment would fix that law.
  The Miami Herald did not cite actual fraud to disqualify 1,500 votes, 
mere technicalities in the State law.
  The pending amendment repairs this problem with Federal law and does 
not allow a ballot to be disqualified without ``evidence of fraud.''
  If there is evidence of fraud, absolutely the ballots would be 
disqualified. I think if there is any suggestion, or any indication, or 
any evidence whatsoever that there was fraud committed, disqualify 
them. Fraud applies to everybody--military or nonmilitary. If you 
commit fraud, your ballot shouldn't be counted.
  There is evidence that there was a coordinated effort to 
disenfranchise our military voters, I am sad to say.
  Former Montana Governor Mark Racicot said last fall:

       In an effort to win at any cost, the Vice President's 
     lawyers launched a State-wide effort to throw out as many 
     military ballots as they can.

  Forty percent of the 3,500 overseas ballots in Florida were thrown 
out in November of 2000 for technical reasons.
  You can go on and on. There is plenty of indication. We don't need to 
go through all of it.
  Felon convictions ranged from murder to rape and drunk driving. What 
crime did our military personnel commit? I can understand why you 
wouldn't put a ballot in the hands of a rapist or a murderer or a drunk 
so he could vote. But no such crimes were committed by our military.
  It is not a crime to volunteer to serve in the military. Every vote 
must count including our military votes.
  Basically, the ballots in Florida were disqualified for two reasons: 
The requirement that ballots must be postmarked by election day, and 
failure to either have a proper signature or date on the actual ballot. 
Neither of these issues are currently addressed in the Federal law. So 
this changes that. Federal law leaves details to the State, such as 
postmark requirements and authentication of ballots.
  In conclusion, I ask that voting rights be restored to our military 
voters.
  This is not something that anybody should oppose. It is not 
controversial, in my view. I think the Senator from Colorado has a good 
amendment. It is

[[Page S717]]

the least we can do. The statute did not cover it. People got a little 
bit excited in the heat of a political campaign and were trying to 
disqualify ballots, or qualify ballots, whatever the case may have been 
and on whichever side you were on, and the military was caught in the 
middle. That is not right. We owe it to our service men and women to at 
least allow them to participate in this great Republic that they 
sacrifice so much to defend.
  I am pleased to support the Allard amendment.
  If it is appropriate, I will ask for the yeas and nays on the 
amendment at this point.
  Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, I am proud to co-sponsor this amendment 
with my friend and colleague Senator Allard, who has been involved 
deeply in this issue from the first whispers of improprieties following 
the 2000 election.
  Like him and many Americans, my conscience was struck by the failure 
of our voting system as a whole. The inadequacies exposed in Florida 
may well have been found in any election district in any county in any 
state in the Union. While my state of Indiana has been hard at work 
remedying its own shortfalls, it is essential that coupled with 
important changes we made as part of the FY 2002 Defense Authorization 
bill, we take the steps outlined in this amendment to improve the lot 
of the military voter.
  We live in the 21st Century. We are used to instantaneous information 
and communication and data exchanges. We hold ourselves up as an 
example to the world in the area of free and fair elections. Everyone 
can vote, we say. Register, show up at the polls. Or, if you are not 
going to be in your home state, you can get a paper ballot through the 
mail and send it in. Simple.
  Unfortunately, the reality has been much more complicated. In fact, 
as recent history has indicated and any military member deployed 
overseas can tell you, it's not simple. Depending on the election year, 
DoD goes to varying lengths to get the word out to the individual 
service members, however, there is no real oversight and many times the 
Sailor, Soldier, Airman or Marine in the weeks leading up to the 
election is far away from a polling place without the materials he or 
she needs to register or vote.
  For the overseas military voter, registering and voting is a multi-
step process that can take months: first, a member must register to 
vote; second, a member must request an absentee ballot for each 
election and its primary; third, the ballot must be received from the 
local voting jurisdiction; fourth, a member must complete that ballot 
and get it in to his or her election Board in the allotted time; and 
last, the ballot is subject to a myriad of state and local election 
board requirements.
  With mail delays, remote deployments and other very real 
circumstances, it can take literally months to complete the multi-step 
process. And, in the end, a military voter has no idea whether that 
ballot was received and counted, or disqualified because of some 
obscure state standard for those ballots. Some jurisdictions, as we saw 
in Florida, execute a stringent checklist on each ballot to ensure that 
it meets exacting standards, unbeknownst to the servicemember.
  To say the least, military voters need to plan ahead, especially when 
they are going to be deployed during an election. Certainly, the right 
to vote implies some level of responsibility for the member, but even 
such matters as the proximate scheduling of primary and general 
elections in some states renders obsolete even the most prudent 
planning. This is further complicated by run-offs and local ballot 
issues, making even a 45-day turnaround, the recommended standard, 
challenging.
  This amendment, coupled with the changes we made in the fall, will 
help alleviate this situation for the 2.7 million military members and 
their families who may at some time in their careers be sent overseas.
  The Government Accounting Office, the Reserve Officers Association, 
the Carter-Ford Commission and others discuss each of the shortfalls we 
seek to correct. And, as my colleague from Colorado has stated, we are 
looking for very modest changes.
  Among the provisions we are advocating, Senator Allard's amendment 
clarifies the standards that states must follow when processing the 
ballots for our military personnel, and in maintaining their 
registrations following discharge or release from active duty. All 
states should use the same checklist when evaluating a ballot in a 
federal election, and it should not be promulgated only during recount 
proceedings.
  Fairness and simplification is important. But even as we tout its 
merits and strive for simplification, we must maintain a cautious eye 
on ensuring an accurate list of qualified voters. Fraud happens. As we 
watch the trend toward more permissive absentee voting, the 
opportunities to commit fraud could very well expand. The Allard 
amendment is thoughtful about balancing procedural simplification and 
standardization with the imperative to prevent fraud.
  I strongly encourage my colleagues, on behalf of the men and women in 
uniform who are serving overseas today and those who will be in the 
remote corners of the globe in future election seasons, to support this 
amendment.
  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I don't know of any reason why we can't 
accept the amendment. I commend both my colleagues. I know this was 
offered earlier in the Armed Services Committee, and for reasons that 
the Senator from Colorado may be more aware of as a member of the 
committee, getting rid of what they considered to be extraneous 
amendments may have been the rationale.
  But I think our colleagues pointed out good rationale as to why it is 
worthwhile. In fact, the basic thrust of this bill that Senator 
McConnell and I are trying to address is why the two friends offered 
this amendment; that it ought to be easier to cast the ballots. Too 
often I think these places can be less than user friendly when it comes 
to exercising one's franchise. Rejection on minor technicalities and 
discarding someone's effort to express a choice in an election is 
something we need to minimize, to put it mildly.
  I support the amendment. I am happy to accept it, if the Senator 
wants to do it that way.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The yeas and nays were requested.
  Is there a sufficient second?
  Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. I didn't formally request it. I said if 
it is appropriate, I would do it. I withdraw my request.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I am certainly pleased to hear the 
chairman of the committee, Senator Dodd, indicate that he is willing to 
accept the amendment.
  I congratulate the Senator from Colorado and the Senator from New 
Hampshire. When this amendment was offered last year, there was a 
significant effort to derail it. I think that as a result of the hard 
work of the Senator from Colorado--I see the Senator from Kansas who is 
deeply interested in this issue is in the Chamber. They were all 
chagrined, as I recall, that it was lost in conference on the DOD 
authorization bill. I think as a result of their perseverance and 
coming back here today and pressing forward, it seems as if we are on 
the verge of having it accepted.
  I think it is a tribute to the Senators from Colorado, Kansas, and 
New Hampshire. I thank all three of them.
  I see the Senator from Kansas. He might want to address this issue 
before we wrap it up.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. ROBERTS. I thank the Chair, and I thank my distinguished friend 
from Colorado. Addressing this issues is certainly long overdue. If we 
are going to have an election reform bill, the very definition of 
election reform begins with the intent of my friend's legislation.
  As most marines know, there are no ex-marines. There are only former 
marines. As a veteran and as a member of the Armed Services Committee, 
I recalled what happened in our last election to military personnel.
  We witnessed a travesty. Election officials in some areas of the 
country failed to count thousands of military absentee ballots. This is 
a slap in the face to the men and women who serve in the armed forces 
protecting American interests.
  We must respect the constitutional rights of all citizens--especially 
those

[[Page S718]]

in uniform defending our country. It seem to me that a very basic 
Constitutional right was abrogated. This amendment achieves the goal of 
giving military personnel the confidence that their vote matters.
  It ensures that military personnel have the right to cast votes in 
local, state and federal elections, and makes certain those votes are 
counted. It extends voter registration, absentee ballot protections, 
and requires that states prove fraud before disqualifying votes in 
federal elections.
  Until recently, we took for granted the sacrifices our military made 
on a daily basis. The supreme purpose of the federal government is 
defense of our homeland. Give those who defend our homeland the same 
rights and privileges ordinary citizens enjoy.
  Consider a 1952 letter written by a former member of this body, which 
pertains to this issue:

       Many of those in uniform are serving overseas, or in parts 
     of the country distant from their homes. They are unable to 
     return to their states either to register or to vote. Those 
     risking their lives deserve to exercise the right to vote. 
     The least we can do at home is make sure they can enjoy the 
     rights they are preserving.

  President Harry Truman penned those words. His support of the 
military vote was so strong that he signed the Federal Voting 
Assistance Act into law in 1955. That legislation laid the groundwork 
for the 1975 Overseas Citizens Voting Rights Act, and it is now being 
improved the Senator from Colorado and others who are cosponsoring this 
bill.
  Voting is the cornerstone of democracy. Before passing any piece of 
this legislation, we must first show our appreciation to service men 
and women by letting them know that their vote is a right, not a 
privilege.
  So again, I credit the distinguished Senator from Colorado, and all 
those involved--Senator Smith, Senator McConnell, and the distinguished 
chairman, who I know is also very supportive.
  I am very proud to have my name as a cosponsor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Nelson of Florida). The Senator from 
Colorado.
  Mr. ALLARD. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Kansas for his 
gracious remarks and really appreciate him working with us on this 
particular issue. I also thank the Senator from New Hampshire for all 
his help. I particularly thank the chairman for his support, and the 
ranking Republican Senator, Mr. McConnell, for his help in relation to 
the amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. If I could have the indulgence of the 
leader, I would like to share a personal anecdote that does not relate 
to voting but relates to smudges and things that may occur from time to 
time.
  For military personnel, as you know, some of the ballots were 
disqualified because of a smudge mark or something not clearly 
readable.
  In 1945, when my father was killed at the end of the Second World War 
in a plane crash in the Chesapeake Bay--serving in all of his combat 
missions, he was killed in a military aircraft that went down in the 
Chesapeake Bay--his body was recovered 2 days later. Of course, in the 
recovery of his body, they recovered his wallet.
  My mother--who was then a young widow with two boys--had to follow 
the limousine from Virginia back to the funeral parlor in Trenton, NJ, 
where my father was buried. She had no money for gasoline because we 
could not use it then; you had to use stamps. The only stamps she had 
were the stamps from my father's wallet.
  After filling up with gas, when she went into the gas station to 
present those stamps, the attendant would not take the stamps because 
he said he could not read them; they were smudged.
  My mother never forgot that story. Until almost the day she died, she 
talked about it, about how much that hurt her, that no matter how much 
pressure was put on that attendant, he refused to accept those stamps.
  So I think we have to err on the side of caution for our military. 
They go through a lot. There is a lot of sacrifice. That story was not 
about a ballot, but it was about a document, if you will.
  So I really appreciate the support of Senator Dodd and Senator 
McConnell and Senator Allard and others for this amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, if there is no further debate, I ask that we 
vote on the amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there further debate on the amendment?
  If not, the question is on agreeing to amendment No. 2861.
  The amendment (No. 2861) was agreed to.
  Mr. DODD. I move to reconsider the vote.
  Mr. McCONNELL. I move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the Allard 
amendment No. 2858, as modified.
  The amendment (No. 2858), as modified, was agreed to.
  Mr. DODD. I move to reconsider the vote.
  Mr. McCONNELL. I move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri.
  Mr. BOND. Mr. President, I rise today to talk about the measure that 
is before us. I have had the pleasure of coming to this Chamber on 
several occasions to talk about it as we prepared to move forward.
  I think it is vitally important that we have taken up this extremely 
important measure so early in this session. It is not the first bill to 
be considered, but it is probably the first new one to be considered 
after the others that have carried over.
  I offer my very special thanks to the distinguished Senator from 
Connecticut and the Senator from Kentucky for the great work and effort 
they have put in on this legislation. We have also worked with the 
Senator from New York, Mr. Schumer, and the Senator from New Jersey, 
Mr. Torricelli, because we are all concerned about assuring that we 
safeguard the most important right that a citizen in a democracy such 
as ours has; and that is the right to select the leadership, the right 
to select those who represent them.
  Today, together, we are in the process of delivering on the promise 
that for all Americans we want to make it easier to vote and harder to 
cheat. I think that is what the American people want: Every American 
citizen--appropriate age, appropriate qualifications, properly 
registered--ought to be able to cast a ballot without difficulty. They 
also ought to be able to do that only once. That is the other part. We 
should, and we will in this bill, make it very hard for people to 
cheat. We know that every fraudulent vote cast dilutes the rights of 
those who cast lawful ballots.
  The Missouri Court of Appeals, on election day in November 2000, was 
presented with a case where an order was entered in St. Louis City 
Circuit Court to keep the polls open. The court of appeals was very 
clear. They expressed what higher courts in this land have expressed 
previously; that is, if you permit people to vote more than once, to 
vote in the name of a dead person, a nonexistent person, or even a dog, 
as we have talked about previously in this Chamber, you are diluting 
and, thus, devaluing the vote of those who cast their vote legally, who 
have a right to vote, who have a right to have their voice counted, and 
counted once.
  I think we have accomplished this goal. We have worked long and hard. 
As we know, there has already been one amendment offered that has been 
acceptable to both sides to improve this bill. So we are not saying 
that this has dealt with every area. I know there will be several other 
questions and concerns raised. But I think we have a very good 
foundation which will move the process forward.
  I am not a member of the Rules Committee, nor prior to the year 2000 
did I consider myself an expert on election reform.
  I first saw the corrosive effects of potential fraud in the 1972 
election, when I was running for Governor of Missouri. My opponent 
engineered an effort to keep the polls open late in St. Louis.
  We thought we were doing well, but they kept voting in the city of 
St. Louis, which runs about 70 percent or

[[Page S719]]

more Democratic. We were concerned. The polls stayed open until, as I 
recall, late in the evening. It finally appeared that there had been 
enough of a margin in the votes that rolled up out in the State that 
there were not, even laughably, enough votes in St. Louis to turn it 
around. So they finally shut it down.
  I was elected. I went on to say we were going to clean up the State 
of Missouri. When I had the power to appoint the election board, as I 
did in the city of St. Louis, the county of St. Louis, Kansas City, 
Jackson County--I appointed good, solid Republicans for the Republican 
positions, and I took the nominations of Democratic members of the 
Missouri General Assembly to appoint good, solid Democrats.
  One of the best protections we have in the voting process is to have 
good, solid Republicans and good, solid Democrats watching each other, 
making sure that neither side cheats. That is important.
  I am pleased to say that during the 8 years I served as Governor, I 
thought Missouri ran elections pretty well.
  Let's fast forward 28 years: Same State, same city, same play called 
from the same vote fraud playbook.
  I saw firsthand an effort to influence an election illegally. On 
election day, we heard, in advance, there was going to be a lawsuit 
filed, as reports circulated throughout the day that they expected 
there would be voting ``irregularities.'' And sure enough, they went 
into court.
  It was the Gore-Lieberman team that went into court in St. Louis. 
Fourteen minutes later they filed an almost identical suit in the city 
of Kansas City, again an overwhelmingly Democratic area. The suit was 
thrown out in Kansas City.

  In St. Louis, they entered an order keeping the polls open. 
Surprisingly enough, they had recorded messages from Rev. Jesse Jackson 
being played on the radio saying you can vote until 10 or you can vote 
down at the election board until midnight. It seems they planned this 
in advance. The contention they took to the judge was that the 
Democratically appointed election board in the city of St. Louis was 
conspiring to prevent the overwhelmingly Democratic voters of St. Louis 
from voting for the Democratic ticket and therefore they needed to keep 
the polls open so they could continue to vote.
  If you are going to cheat in an election, you don't go into an area 
where you have an overwhelming number of your votes and have your 
people conspire to keep your voters from voting for your candidates. 
Nevertheless, they introduced the measure, and it was ultimately--very 
shortly, fortunately--overturned by the Missouri Court of Appeals.
  This was truly extraordinary. But, frankly, it underscored for me the 
fact that vote fraud is not merely something to be studied in the 
history books. You have all heard that joke in various parts of the 
country--I have used it in some areas in Missouri--I am so committed to 
politics, when I die I want to be buried in a certain county or even in 
a certain State because I want to be able to continue voting from the 
grave.
  That is a joke that, unfortunately, was alive and well in St. Louis.
  Here is what happened. The day before the 2000 election, there was a 
prediction that there would be so much confusion on election day that a 
lawsuit would be necessary to keep the polls open. This candidate for 
office said: If it requires keeping the polls open a little longer, we 
are going to get a court order to do it.
  Sure enough, as predicted, on election day there was much confusion, 
some of it from people bussed in. A lawsuit was filed to keep the polls 
open late. This is where it really gets interesting.
  The plaintiff in the case was a man named Robert D. Odom. His lawyer 
claimed that Robert D. Odom could not vote because of the long lines 
and feared his client would be unable to vote unless the polls were 
kept open late. But what we discovered was that Mr. Robert D. Odom's 
real problem was not that he faced long lines at the polling place. 
That was not his problem. The main reason that Robert D. Odom was 
unable to vote had to do with the fact that he had been dead for a year 
and a half.
  Long after the court case was thrown out, when confronted with the 
uncomfortable fact of the death of Robert D. Odom, Mr. Odom's attorney 
admitted the mistake, one he never bothered to share with the presiding 
judge or the court to correct the record. The plaintiff seeking relief, 
according to that lawyer, wasn't Robert D. Odom. The attorney claimed 
it was actually Mr. Robert M. Odom, also known in local political 
circles as Mark Odim, a political operative for a candidate Lacy Clay, 
who was successful as Democratic candidate for Congress in that 
election. The plaintiff's identity only raised more troubling 
questions. The more we dug, the more we found.
  In the case of Mark Odom, the Congressman today, we found, despite 
his plea to the courts for relief from the lines that were too long at 
the local polling places, the evidence showed that Mr. Odom had in fact 
already voted earlier that day. The evidence is his own signature on a 
signature card retrieved from his own polling place.

  Certainly we hope he was not trying to vote a second time. What we 
witnessed in St. Louis was a premeditated effort to keep the polls open 
late in St. Louis, an overwhelmingly Democratically controlled city, 
because an aide to a Democratic candidate for Congress feared he would 
be unable to vote even though he had already voted that day. It sounds 
incredible, but that is the record. It is right there in the record, 
and we have the court transcript and the documents to prove it. The 
judge approved the scheme. The polls were kept open late, until the 
effort was overturned in the evening.
  The effort to keep the polls open late in St. Louis was not the only 
``irregularity'' we saw on election day. Elsewhere in town, a panel of 
city judges was rubber-stamping court orders to allow unregistered 
people to vote. The Missouri Constitution says you have to be 
registered. So they went in, and the secretary of state's office 
reviewed the applications filed by 1,233 St. Louis city and county 
residents who were allowed to vote, even though they were not 
registered to do so.
  Here are some of the reasons given to judges for people who failed to 
register before the deadline passed and were the bases for circuit 
judges in St. Louis ordering them to be allowed to vote:

       I want a Dem President.
       I did not know it was required.
       I was a felon. I was released on November 1999, and I 
     didn't know that I had to register again to vote.

  Parenthetically, you are not permitted to vote if you are a convicted 
felon unless you have been pardoned.

       I was late registering due to me were going through a 
     mental disorder.

  Do you know what the city judges did? They rubber-stamped these 
requests, even though they failed to meet the clear standards under 
State law for court orders to vote. Only 35 of the 1,268 court orders 
to vote met the legal standard set by Missouri law.
  All of the evidence gathered by Missouri's Secretary of State 
indicates it was no accident that hundreds, if not thousands, of 
unregistered people showed up in front of judges willing to rubber-
stamp these requests. No accident, indeed. The evidence indicates that 
there was a premeditated effort to organize the delivery of these 
illegal voters to the polls, where they would be welcomed by judges all 
too willing to disregard the law and grant them illegal court orders.
  That wasn't the extent of it. The investigation of the secretary of 
state turned up some truly amazing things: 62 Federal felons voted in 
that election, along with 52 State felons, people who are not legally 
entitled to vote; 68 people voted twice; 14 dead people cast votes--I 
have heard of people with an undying commitment to politics, but that 
is carrying it a little too far--79 people registered to vacant lots in 
the city of St. Louis voted in the election; 45 of the city's election 
judges were not registered to vote as they are required to do in order 
lawfully to hold the position of election judge; the discovery of 250 
addresses that are not identified as apartments from which 8 or more 
individuals are registered to vote. A random sampling of 54 of these 
locations indicates that 14 of them might have been used as drop sites 
for multiple false voter registrations.
  All this is only what we know from the press and the public reports. 
There may be more. There is an ongoing Federal investigation. We don't 
know what the results of that will be. We can't

[[Page S720]]

say. Frankly, we had a very active and alert press corps that began to 
dig out some of these things and helped bring to the attention of the 
secretary of state and others what was going on.
  Sadly, this vote fraud was not a one-time occurrence in November of 
2000. The specter of vote fraud returned to St. Louis as the flowers in 
the spring. Just before the daffodils were coming up, probably the 
crocuses, we saw suspect voter mail-in registrations to vote. On the 
very last day to register to vote before the mayoral primary, someone 
dropped off 3,000 voter registration cards, most for purported would-be 
voters in the third and fifth wards north of St. Louis, on 2 specific 
streets, most written with identical handwriting. And as it turns out, 
almost every single one of them was fraudulent.
  The brazenness of that vote fraud is stunning. One of the fraudulent 
voter registration cards belonged to what was purported to be a 
reregistration of the late city alderman, Alberto ``Red'' Villa. It 
might have been about the 10th anniversary of his death--certainly, a 
theologically significant date, but not significant in terms of 
qualifying for registration. There was a registration card belonging to 
the deceased mother of another city alderman also found among the 3,000 
dropped off on the last day of voter registration.
  Yes, even in this day and age, just because you die is not grounds to 
disqualify you from voting in St. Louis, because everybody knows how 
you would have voted if you had been there.
  Now, it seems that in some places nobody gets stirred up by vote 
fraud during general elections between Democrats and Republicans. But 
watch out if it happens during a Democratic primary for mayor because 
that is real jobs and patronage at stake.
  After the shocking attempts to steal the mayoral primary race in St. 
Louis, the local press reported that the FBI had subpoenaed all of the 
records at the city election board for both the general election and 
the mayoral primary.
  While we await the results of that Federal investigation, it has 
already provided quite an education. Some days, I feel as if my staff 
and I are in a graduate program at the St. Louis school of election 
fraud. The more we dug into the issue, the more we were able to see the 
size of the problem in St. Louis.
  We found, for example, that the number of registered voters in the 
city of St. Louis threatens to outnumber the voting-age population. A 
total of 247,135 St. Louis residents, dead, alive, or even canine, are 
listed as registered voters, compared to the city's voting-age 
population of 258,532. That translates to a whopping 96 percent 
registration rate. Were that they were all legitimate registrations, 
that would be a tremendous mark of civic involvement and participation 
in St. Louis. But I am from Missouri; you have to show me that those 
were all one person, one registration, one vote.
  Lest you think I am only talking about St. Louis, according to the 
Associated Press, there are 18 municipalities in Allegheny County, PA, 
with more registered voters than voting-age adults. Upper St. Clair has 
15,361 registered voters, but, unfortunately, they only have 14,369 
residents of voting age.
  Back to St. Louis. About one-quarter of registered voters in that 
city are on the inactive voter list, meaning that the U.S. Postal 
Service has failed to verify that 70,000 people are actually still 
living at the addresses from which they registered, or even whether 
they are still alive.
  But it gets worse. More than 23,000 people registered to vote in the 
city of St. Louis are also registered somewhere else in the State. That 
means 1 out of 10 St. Louis City voters are double registered. We saw 
some who were triple registered. Some were even quadruple registered.
  In a review of the voter registrations, we found five Missouri voters 
registered at four different places in the State--certainly among our 
most active civic volunteers, with four different voting locations. Of 
course, there is my favorite case of Ritzy Mekler, a loyal St. Louis 
registered voter, and loyal mixed-breed canine. Yes, a dog is 
registered to vote in St. Louis. I have respect for the dearly departed 
such as Red Villa, and I like dogs, but I really don't think either one 
of them ought to be able to vote.
  About the only thing we have not seen in St. Louis is the actual 
election of a dog or a dead person to political office.

  Voting canines is not only a St. Louis problem. There was also the 
case of Cocoa Fernandez in West Palm Beach, FL. Cocoa's owner 
registered the dog to shed light on the ``failings in our voter 
registration system.''
  Some of these cases are humorous. Others are deadly serious. For 
example, a Saudi man detained by Federal authorities in Denver, CO, for 
questioning about the September 11 terrorist attacks was found to have 
registered to vote at the local department of motor vehicles even 
though he was not a citizen. Worse yet, the records show that he 
actually voted in last year's Presidential election.
  In Greensboro, NC, a Pakistani citizen with links to two of the 
September 11 hijackers was indicted by a Federal grand jury for having 
illegally registered to vote.
  It is really quite sad that in the 21st century, in the world's 
greatest democracy, we still tolerate woefully tangled and fouled up 
voter registration systems that all but invite vote fraud.
  I have recounted in the last few minutes some of the stories that 
formed my education in vote fraud. So while many wanted to talk about 
Florida after the last election, I wanted to make sure we learned 
additional lessons from vote fraud in St. Louis and elsewhere. This is 
not merely a local story. The root cause of what is so terribly wrong 
with St. Louis elections lies in the Federal law.
  More specifically, it lies within the loopholes in the Federal law. 
For example, Federal law actually makes it very difficult for cities 
such as St. Louis to maintain accurate voter registration lists. It 
blocks States from authenticating mail-in registration cards--the first 
line of defense in preventing vote fraud.
  In order to prevent this kind of election scandal from occurring 
again in St. Louis or elsewhere, I knew we had to fight to close the 
election law loopholes. I had to share with my Senate colleagues what I 
had learned. So I testified before the Senate Committee on Governmental 
Affairs. That brought me to tell my story of the St. Louis problems to 
Chris Dodd, chairman of the Rules Committee. I told him how important 
the topic of election reform was to me. I told him that election reform 
without protections against vote fraud could not earn my support. He 
listened, and we talked a great deal and agreed on a formula that we 
believed could attract bipartisan support. We agreed to write a bill, 
along with Senator McConnell particularly, and others, to make it 
easier to vote and much harder to cheat.
  I think we have done that. I thank Senator Dodd and Senator McConnell 
for listening to the concerns of Missourians who were outraged by what 
we saw in the November 2000 elections in St. Louis. We worked closely 
together for several months to close loopholes while taking every 
precaution to protect the rights of legal voters. That is what I think 
we have done.
  One of the most important things we did was to agree to make it 
easier to vote and tougher to cheat. We ought to have statewide 
registration systems to eliminate the patchwork overlapping of county 
and city voter registration lists that have resulted in the kinds of 
multiple registrations and the kind of confusion that certainly 
bedevils some legitimate voters in St. Louis and elsewhere. No longer 
are we going to see people registered in four, five different places in 
any State. We need to find out where they are living and legally 
registered, and get the others off the rolls so those who are entitled 
to vote can vote and those who are not entitled to cannot.

  Registration cards will now require prospective voters to declare 
under penalty of perjury that they are U.S. citizens--a very simple but 
very important affirmation. And individuals who register by mail will 
be required to provide identification when they vote the first time.
  Mr. President, will this stop all vote fraud in St. Louis and all 
American cities? Of course not. But these changes in Federal law will 
put power back into State and local law enforcement officials so that 
they can clean up their rolls.

[[Page S721]]

  These are commonsense measures that will strengthen safeguards that 
protect the ballot box. To any of my colleagues who question the need 
to strengthen safeguards, just look at what happened in St. Louis. Why 
is it acceptable to require a photo ID to board an airplane, buy 
cigarettes, or alcohol, but to not require some kind of identification 
to carry out the most important of all of our civic responsibilities?
  We have a responsibility to ensure that all legally cast votes are 
counted and an equal responsibility to ensure that legally cast votes 
are not diluted, downgraded, or nullified by illegal votes. We must 
strengthen confidence in our voting system. People must know that their 
votes are actually going to be counted and not discounted.
  In the wake of the St. Louis vote fraud scandal, the Missouri Court 
of Appeals for the Eastern District issued its ruling on the lawsuit to 
keep the polls open late in St. Louis. As I mentioned earlier, the 
court's opinion accurately characterized the task now before the 
Senate, each of us. I quote:

       (C)ommendable zeal to protect voting rights must be 
     tempered by the corresponding duty to protect the integrity 
     of the voting process . . . (E)qual vigilance is required to 
     ensure that only those entitled to vote are allowed to cast a 
     ballot. Otherwise, the rights of those lawfully entitled to 
     vote are inevitably diluted.

  That is what we are about today. We are here to see that everybody 
has an opportunity to vote. We need to clean up the underbrush.
  The distinguished Senator from Connecticut has taken a very strong 
position to ensure that those with special needs are accommodated, and 
this is landmark legislation to ensure that those who need special 
assistance or equipment can vote and can participate fully in our 
system.
  Clearly, the steps that we are taking to regularize the registration 
system are going to go a long way to empower local election officials 
and State election officials to ensure that everybody who is entitled 
to vote has a chance to vote but to vote only once.
  I look forward to working with my colleagues on the other important 
measures that will be brought before this body. I thank my colleagues 
who have worked so long and hard on crafting the bill that is before 
us, and I trust that we will wind up presenting, not only from this 
body but from conference with the House, a measure that will go to the 
President that will be signed into law to ensure that it is easier to 
vote and tougher to cheat.
  I thank the Chair. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, in a moment, I am going to share with my 
colleagues some endorsements of the underlying substitute bill, the 
Dodd-McConnell bill, along with others who are cosponsors of the 
substitute. There are numerous cosponsors of this bill, and I will 
submit momentarily the list of all those among our colleagues who are 
cosponsoring this legislation.
  Secondly, I will submit a list of various organizations such as the 
NAACP, the AFL-CIO, Public Citizen, and a lot of other groups that are 
endorsing the bill as well, and I will submit for the Record letters 
that these organizations have offered on behalf of this legislation. 
The National Civil Rights Coalition is listing this as their No. 1 
legislative priority this session of Congress.
  I will not read them all, but the following organizations have 
endorsed the Dodd-McConnell bipartisan compromise on election reform 
and urge the Senate to act on it: AFL-CIO, the NAACP, the Carter-Ford 
Commission, Public Citizen, American Association of People with 
Disabilities, National Federation of the Blind, the United States 
Cerebral Palsy Associations, People for the American Way, the League of 
Women Voters, the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, the 
Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Laborers' 
International Union of North America, U.S. Public Interest Research 
Group, Common Cause, and a variety of Secretaries of State, both 
Democrats and Republicans, not all of them but some have specifically 
sent letters endorsing the legislation.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that some letters expressing 
why they think this bill is worthy of their support be printed in the 
Record.
  There being no objection, the letters were ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

         Washington Bureau, National Association for the 
           Advancement of Colored People,
                                 Washington, DC, February 8, 2002.
     Hon. Christopher Dodd,
     Chair, Senate Rules and Administration Committee, U.S. 
         Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Dodd; The National Association for the 
     Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation's oldest, 
     largest and most widely recognized grassroots civil rights 
     organization, strongly supports the Dodd/McConnell/Schumer/
     Bond substitute to S. 565, the Equal Protection of Voting 
     Rights Act.
       The NAACP is well known for being a long and steadfast 
     champion of the American promise of the right to vote. As 
     such, I urge you, on behalf of the more than 500,000 NAACP 
     members across the nation, to move as quickly as possible to 
     pass this important legislation. The sooner comprehensive 
     election reform legislation is enacted, the more assured we 
     can be that every eligible American who wants to vote can, 
     and that his or her vote will be counted.
       The NAACP's support of the Dodd/McConnell substitute is 
     based on the fact that it is a balanced, comprehensive 
     response to the problems that have plagued our national 
     electoral system for too long. As we saw in the most recent 
     Presidential election, states and municipalities throughout 
     our nation need to reform their election procedures. The 
     Dodd/McConnell substitute would require that by the year 2006 
     all voting machines across the nation allow the voter to 
     verify their choices and correct errors before the ballot is 
     cast. The legislation would further require that, by the 
     beginning of the year 2004, all states and local 
     jurisdictions have provisional balloting, which would allow 
     an individual whose eligibility is in question to vote and 
     have the vote set aside pending verification. The legislation 
     would also require states, by January, 2004, to keep 
     computerized voting rolls to help ensure that a state-wide 
     list of eligible voters is readily available on election day 
     and to help cut down on fraud or abuse.
       Furthermore, the Dodd/McConnell substitute contains 
     provisions which would dramatically increase access to the 
     voting booths for language minority and disabled Americans. 
     While we do have a few lingering concerns regarding specific 
     provisions currently in the Dodd/McConnell substitute, most 
     specifically the provision requiring that first time voters 
     who registered by mail provide a photo identification, we are 
     committed to working with the you and the bill's other 
     sponsors, as well as the rest of the Senate, to improve them 
     and build upon the bill's obvious merits as we move forward.
       While the NAACP applauds and appreciates the fact that the 
     House has already acted on election reform legislation, the 
     final version of the bill (H.R. 3295, the Help America Vote 
     Act), falls short of fixing our electoral problems and, in 
     some instances, represents a step backwards for civil rights 
     laws. Furthermore, H.R. 3295 does not contain any provisions 
     to address election fraud. Due to the fundamental flaws in 
     H.R. 3295, the NAACP was forced to join dozens of other 
     national civil, voting, consumer and disability rights 
     organizations, as well as major national labor and religious 
     organizations in opposing the legislation.
       I urge you again, on behalf of the NAACP and every American 
     who is concerned about the protection of our basic democratic 
     right to vote, to pass the strongest election reform 
     legislation possible. The Dodd/McConnell substitute is an 
     aggressive, comprehensive solution to many of the problems 
     that continue to plague our nation, and I hope that you will 
     do all you can to see that it is enacted quickly.
       Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter. 
     Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is 
     anything more I can do for you on this or any other matter.
           Sincerely,
                                                Hilary O. Shelton,
     Director.
                                  ____

         Americal Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial 
           Organizations,
                                  Washington DC, January 18, 2002.
       Dear Senator: The AFL-CIO strongly urges you to cosponsor 
     the Dodd-McConnell substitute to S. 565, the Equal Protection 
     of Voting Rights Act, which was also sponsored by Senator 
     Schumer, Bond, Torricelli, McCain, and Durbin.
       The bipartisan substitute to S. 565 would help strengthen 
     our democracy by requiring all states to meet three new 
     minimum federal standards over the next few years. More 
     specifically, this legislation would require states to create 
     statewide voter registration lists and allow registered 
     voters whose names do not appear on these lists to cast 
     provisional ballots by 2004. It would also require States to 
     use voting technology by 2006

[[Page S722]]

     that informs voters if they have voted for too many 
     candidates, and allows all voters, including the disabled and 
     language minorities, to verify their votes before casting 
     them. In addition, this legislation would authorize federal 
     funds to help states meet these new minimum standards and 
     create a new commission to study various election reform 
     issues, oversee federal elections, and disburse the new 
     federal election reform funds.
       Since the House recently passed an election reform bill 
     (H.R. 3295) that does not include the minimum standards 
     necessary to fundamentally improve our nation's election 
     system, the 107th Congress will only be able to pass 
     comprehensive election reform before the 2002 elections if 
     the Senate acts quickly on the substitute to S. 565. While we 
     have concerns with some of the language currently in this 
     legislation, we are committed to working with the bill's 
     sponsors to improve this proposal as if moves forward.
       Last Election Day, countless citizens in Florida and 
     throughout the country were denied their Constitutional right 
     to vote by flawed voting equipment, erroneous voter 
     registration records, and confusing ballots. While many 
     lawfully registered voters were disenfranchised outright, 
     others cast votes that ultimately were not counted. Now that 
     the 2000 elections are over, we have a responsibility to use 
     what we learned from this bitter experience to enact 
     comprehensive election reform before the 2002 elections.
       For all of these reasons, we strongly urge you to cosponsor 
     the bipartisan Dodd-McConnell substitute to S. 565.
           Sincerely,
                                                   William Samuel,
     Director, Department of Legislation.
                                  ____

                                           American Association of


                                     People With Disabilities,

                                Washington, DC, February 11, 2002.
     Members of the U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator: The American Association of People with 
     Disabilities (AAPD), the largest national membership 
     organization dedicated to promoting the economic and 
     political empowerment of all people with disabilities, 
     strongly supports the Dodd/McConnell/Schumer/Bond substitute 
     to S.565, the Equal Protection of Voting Rights Act. On 
     behalf of the nearly 30,000 nation-wide members of AAPD, I 
     urge you to support this important legislation and see that 
     it is brought before the full Senate and passed without any 
     weakening amendments. Our support for moving this legislation 
     to the Senate floor is conditional upon being certain that 
     the photo i.d. requirement will have added to it an 
     attestation allowing voters with disabilities and others who 
     lack a photo i.d. or utility bill to confirm the validity of 
     their registration. We feel that this important addition 
     makes it easy to vote and hard to steal an election.
       AAPD has worked to ensure that all members of the 
     disability community cast their votes and have their votes 
     counted. The 2000 presidential election exposed many problems 
     in the nation's electoral system. Millions of votes were 
     either unable to cast their votes or have their votes 
     counted. the sooner comprehensive election reform is passed, 
     the sooner more voters with disabilities will be able to cast 
     their vote with the confidence that their vote was cast to 
     their wishes and that their vote will indeed be counted.
       To protect the millions of voters with disabilities and 
     others, the substitute provides for minimum national 
     standards in three essential, but limited areas. Including 
     provisional ballots, statewide voter registration lists, and 
     standards that require voting machines to inform the voter of 
     an error and give the voter the opportunity to correct it. 
     Such standards would also protect against high voting machine 
     error rates.
       We are particularly pleased that the substitute's standards 
     offer millions of voters with disabilities the opportunity to 
     cast a secret and independent ballot for the first time and 
     that the legislation provides the states and counties with 
     the necessary funding to make this happen. We are also 
     pleased that the definition of disability, in the substitute 
     bill, includes people with physical, sensory, and mental 
     disabilities.
       While AAPD is pleased that election reform has already been 
     addressed in the House, the final version of H.R. 3295, the 
     Help America Vote Act, falls short in fixing electoral 
     problems for voters with disabilities. Due to the fundamental 
     flaws in H.R. 3295, AAPD was forced to join with other 
     national disability, civil rights, and voting groups to 
     oppose this legislation.
       I urge you on behalf of the 56 million Americans with 
     disabilities to pass the strongest election reform bill 
     possible. The Dodd/McConnell substitute is that bill and I 
     hope you will do all that you can to see that it is enacted 
     quickly.
       Thank you, in advance, for your attention to this matter. 
     Please let me know if you have any questions, or if there is 
     anything more I can do for you on this matter.
           Sincerely,
                                               Andrew J. Imparato,
     President & CEO.
                                  ____

                                               National Federation


                                                 of the Blind,

                                 Baltimore, MD, February 12, 2002.
     Hon. Christopher Dodd,
     Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, U.S. 
         Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Mr. Chairman: I am writing to express the strong 
     support of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) for the 
     Equal Protection of Voting Rights Act of 2001 (S. 565), 
     including language we requested to address the needs of 
     people who are blind. Thanks to your efforts and 
     understanding, this legislation points the way for blind 
     people to vote privately and independently at each polling 
     place throughout the United States.
       While the 2000 election demonstrated significant problems 
     with our electoral system, consensus regarding the solution 
     has been much more difficult to find. Nonetheless, it is 
     clear that installation of up-to-date technology will occur 
     throughout the United States. This means that voting 
     technology will change, and devices purchased now will set 
     the pattern for decades to come. Therefore, requirements for 
     nonvisual access must be an essential component of the new 
     design. S. 565 will make this happen.
       With more than 50,000 members representing every state, the 
     District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, the NFB is the largest 
     organization of blind people in the United States. As such we 
     know about blindness from our own experience. The right to 
     vote and cast a truly secret ballot is one of our highest 
     priorities, and modern technology can now support this goal. 
     For that reason, we strongly support S. 565 now pending in 
     the Senate.
           Sincerely,
                                                     James Gashel,
     Director of Governmental Affairs.
                                  ____



                                  People for the American Way,

                                Washington, DC, February 12, 2002.
     Hon. Christopher J. Dodd,
     U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Dodd: On behalf of the more than 500,000 
     members and supporters of People For the American Way (PFAW), 
     we write to express our strong support for the Dodd/
     McConnell/Schumer/Bond substitute to S. 565, the Equal 
     Protection of Voting Rights Act.
       PFAW is especially pleased with the strong provisions of 
     this bill which would require each state to meet a set of 
     minimum standards when it comes to voting equipment, the 
     training of poll workers, language minority assistance, 
     provisional ballots, and accessibility for the disabled. We 
     are also pleased that S. 565 contains strong language 
     providing for provisional voting, for the posting of critical 
     election information at polling places on Election Day and 
     for enforcement by the Department of Justice.
       We are committed to working with you, and other members of 
     the Senate, to strengthen the bill. Specifically, we want to 
     ensure that first time voters who have registered by mail 
     have the maximum numbers of options available to properly 
     identify themselves to election officials. We would 
     especially support efforts to allow these first time voters 
     to attest to their identity should they not have any other 
     form of identification.
       We applaud you for your tireless work in moving election 
     reform to the top of the Congressional agenda, and your 
     leadership and vision of this bipartisan legislation that 
     would facilitate a full democratic participation in 
     elections. We especially want to thank you for your 
     commitment to work with PFAW and our allies in the civil 
     rights, voting rights, labor, and disability communities to 
     make necessary improvements to achieve the full potential of 
     this legislation. We look forward to working with you 
     throughout the legislative process to ensure that 
     comprehensive election reform legislation is enacted.
           Sincerely,
     Ralph G. Neas,
                                                        President.
     Stephanie Foster,
     Director of Public Policy.
                                  ____

                                                   United Cerebral


                                            Palsy Association,

                                Washington, DC, February 12, 2002.
     Senator Christopher J. Dodd,
     Russell Senate Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Dodd: On behalf of UCP, our more than 100 
     affiliates in over 40 States and millions of voters with 
     disabilities, I want to congratulate you on your historic 
     leadership in crafting the Senate bipartisan agreement on 
     election reform.
       We are deeply appreciative of your efforts to ensure that--
     by enacting this legislation--Americans with disabilities 
     will have equal access to the polling place and the voting 
     booth for the first time in history. We are proud and 
     pleased, therefore, to lend our full support of the 
     bipartisan substitute amendment to S. 565, which, it is our 
     understanding, you will bring to the floor as soon as 
     possible so that it can be debated and approved by the full 
     Senate. We believe swift passage of this legislation is 
     essential to strengthening the basic tools of our democracy 
     at a time when the attacks of September 11th remind us all of 
     how vigilant we must be in safeguarding our most basic 
     freedoms.
       The Senate bipartisan measure sets vitally needed national 
     minimum voting rights standards. They will let every voter 
     know that regardless of where they live neither their 
     ethnicity nor disability will prevent them from entering 
     their polling place and casting their ballot in privacy 
     knowing it will be counted fairly and accurately. The 
     provisions requiring that new voting systems be accessible 
     and the $100 million grant program to make polling places 
     accessible will go far to realize the full promise of the ADA

[[Page S723]]

     to make Americans with disabilities first class citizens of 
     our democracy. This is a critical civic lesson for America 
     and the rest of the world as well.
       We believe, however, some changes are needed in the 
     substitute amendment to ensure that election reform goes 
     forward in as fair and effective a manner as possible. The 
     first of these relates to the role, which the Access Board 
     will play in providing policy direction to the newly created 
     federal election accessibility grant program. As drafted, the 
     substitute amendment provides that the Attorney General will 
     carry out the grant program consistent with policies and 
     criteria for the approval of funding applications set forth 
     by the Access Board. Responsibility for administering this 
     grant program--as with the other election reform grants 
     established by this bill--will transfer from the U.S. Justice 
     Department to the new Election Administration Commission once 
     it is fully functional. For clarity and continuity sake, we 
     believe that language needs to be added to the bill to make 
     clear that the policies and criteria set by the Access Board 
     for the election grant program shall guide its implementation 
     both at DOJ and the Election Administration Commission.
       We also believe that changes need to be made to the 
     provision in the substitute that would require first time 
     voters who register by mail to produce a photo identification 
     card when they show up at the polls or to send a copy of one 
     or other verification of their identity by mail if they vote 
     by secret ballot. While we recognize that this provision is 
     meant to prevent voter fraud, we believe it would prove 
     largely unworkable and therefore, ineffective in doing so. 
     Moreover, we are extremely fearful that this provision would 
     have a significant chilling effect on potential voters, 
     including those with disabilities as well as language and 
     ethnic minorities. Those with disabilities and others often 
     lack formal identification cards through no fault of their 
     own. They must not be denied their fundamental right to vote. 
     Over half the States ensure the accuracy of the balloting 
     process by having each voter sign a statement attesting--
     under penalty of law--to both their identity and eligibility 
     to vote. This is a far more straightforward and fairer way to 
     ensure the sanctity of elections. We urge you to support the 
     inclusion of the same procedure in the substitute amendment.
       As with any living document we believe that there may be 
     changes that could be made to it that either significantly 
     strengthen or undermine its basic intent. We want to urge you 
     as its chief author and all others in the Senate to consider 
     each amendment that may be offered very much in this light 
     and we will keep you informed of our views on all such 
     proposed changes as the Senate debate proceeds.
       Thank you once again for your extraordinary leadership.
           Sincerely,
                                                 Kirsten A. Nyrop,
     Executive Director.
                                  ____

                                           The National Commission


                                   on Federal Election Reform,

                                                February 12, 2002.
     Senator Chris Dodd,
     U.S. Senate, Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.
     Senator Mitch McConnell,
     U.S. Senate, Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chris and Mitch: In 2000 the American electoral system 
     was tested by a political ordeal unlike any in living memory. 
     The American political system proved its resilience. But we 
     must think about the future. We all saw that the ordinary 
     institutions of election administration in the United States 
     just could not readily cope with an extremely close election 
     and had many other weaknesses.
       That is why we agreed to lead the foundation-funded 
     National Commission on Federal Election Reform. We issued our 
     report last year and the results have been gratifying. 
     President Bush welcomed the report and endorsed our approach. 
     He has allocated money for election reform in his FY 2003 
     budget proposal. State and local officials around the 
     country, including many conscientious election 
     administrators, have been galvanized to action. Two months 
     ago the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a 
     bipartisan bill on election reform sponsored by Bob Ney and 
     Steny Hoyer.
       The fate of federal election reform now rests with you and 
     your colleagues in the Senate.
       We were glad to learn that both of you have worked with 
     some of your colleagues to fashion a truly bipartisan bill 
     for the Senate. Your staffs have asked us to comment on the 
     relation of this effort to the Commission's goals.
       Naturally your bill was a compromise. Naturally interest 
     groups on both sides of the political spectrum find some 
     things in it they dislike. If we had been writing the bill, 
     we might have made some different choices too, but on the 
     whole it is a good bill and a real improvement over the 
     status quo.
       Your bill is clearly a reasonable bipartisan vehicle for 
     moving the legislative process forward. Its core is sound. It 
     addresses the right issues, such as statewide voter rolls and 
     provisional balloting. If it passes the Senate it will go to 
     conference with the Ney-Hoyer bill. There are some aspects of 
     Ney-Hoyer we like better. But there are also some aspects of 
     Dodd-McConnell that have improved on the House approach. So, 
     starting from good foundations on both sides, a conference 
     committee should be well positioned to bring a strong bill 
     back to each House for final approval.
       The critical issue now is to get this bipartisan bill to 
     the floor of the Senate as soon as possible. All over the 
     country, state legislatures and county administrators are 
     aware that federal action may be imminent. The states should 
     continue to have the primary responsibility for administering 
     elections, but do so in a national framework. Many of these 
     legislators and officials are now understandably frozen about 
     what they should be doing.
       If the 107th Congress passes a bill founded on the current 
     House and Senate bipartisan approaches, you will have 
     achieved a landmark accomplishment. Such a law will touch 
     every county in America--and for the good. With the exception 
     of the civil rights laws of the 1960s, such a law could 
     provide the most important improvements in the democratic 
     election system in our lifetimes.
           Sincerely,
     Gerald R. Ford,
                                                Honorary Co-Chair.
     Robert H. Michel,
                                                         Co-Chair.
     Slade Gorton,
                                                       Vice-Chair.
     Jimmy Carter,
                                                Honorary Co-Chair.
     Lloyd N. Cutler,
                                                         Co-Chair.
     Kathleen M. Sullivan,
     Vice-Chair.
                                  ____



                                               Public Citizen,

                                 Washington, DC, January 18, 2002.
     Senator Christopher Dodd,
     Chairman, Senate Rules and Administration Committee, U.S. 
         Senate, Washington DC.
       Dear Senator Dodd: On behalf of Public Citizen, I am 
     writing to express our strong support for taking up your 
     election reform bill, S. 565 (substitute amendment) as 
     quickly as possible after the Senate reconvenes next week. 
     This bipartisan legislation, which you have done so much to 
     forge, constitutes a major advance on the road to full 
     democratic participation in elections. It is vastly superior 
     to H.R. 3295, the House-passed bill because it establishes 
     strong national voting standards, promotes coherent state and 
     local planning for voting improvements, and includes 
     necessary federal monitoring and enforcement.
       As we work with you and the other sponsors of the bill, we 
     are gratified by your commitment to us and other members of 
     the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights coalition to work 
     together on the Senate floor to pass a few needed 
     improvements in the legislation. Such changes will remove 
     unnecessary ambiguity, ensure that the bill's goals are fully 
     achieved, and strengthen the political position of the bill 
     as it heads for Conference.
       Thank you Senator once again for your dedication to this 
     fundamental legislation for our democracy.
           Sincerely,
     Joan Claybrook,
                                                        President.
     Frank Clemente,
     Director, Congress Watch.
                                  ____


    Statement of Rebekah Harriman--Executive Director--Common Cause/
                              Connecticut

       Common Cause in Connecticut is a non-partisan citizen's 
     lobby dedicated to ensuring that government clean, open, and 
     accountable. Central to this mission is our belief that our 
     democracy is participatory and inclusive to all Americans. It 
     is entirely fitting that we come together on this day, the 
     day the country observes the remembrance of the great 
     Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., to show our strong support 
     for The Equal Protection of Voting Rights Act, sponsored by 
     Senator Dodd.
       Over forty years ago, thousands of Americans dedicated and 
     gave their lives to a movement that fought to end 
     discrimination and ensure that every American was afforded 
     the opportunity to vote without prejudice. Just over one year 
     ago, hundreds of thousands of Americans were unjustly turned 
     away from the polls or were otherwise locked out of our 
     democracy when their votes were not counted due to faulty 
     voting procedures. We must make every effort to ensure that 
     this injustice does not occur again in America. The Equal 
     Protection Voting Rights Act is strong legislation that will 
     help ensure that every American's vote counts.
       Common Cause/CT supports The Equal Protection Voting Rights 
     Act because it 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.
       This legislation would be essential in Connecticut, where 
     our voting equipment must be evaluated. In the year 2000, 
     thousands of votes were invalidated in the presidential 
     election because many of our states' voting systems are 
     outdated, inconsistent, and inaccurate. Common Cause/CT 
     believes it is essential to replace our nearly extinct voting 
     machines and that we strive to have a uniform mechanism for 
     voting in every precinct in Connecticut.
       Another important facet of the legislation is the mandate 
     that states compile a statewide voter list. Without a 
     statewide centralized voter registration system that allows

[[Page S724]]

     for the accurate and timely exchange and updating of 
     information, too many eligible voters are turned away from 
     the polls each election because their name was either failed 
     to be placed on their precinct list by election day or was 
     purged from the rolls in a careless attempt to clean up an 
     inefficiently maintained list. The technology and the 
     administrative know-how already exist in the state and 
     mandating that all jurisdictions participate in the system 
     would greatly reduce the number of Connecticut voters 
     disenfranchised in this way.
       The Equal Protection Voting Rights Act also sets an 
     important standard by requiring states to implement 
     provisional balloting. This would ensure that no registered 
     voter in Connecticut is ever turned away from the voting 
     booth.
       We believe that every possible step must be taken to ensure 
     that the election process is fair, accurate, and accessible 
     to every voter in the country. We believe that every option 
     must be looked at to afford the most citizens possible the 
     ability to vote with ease and precision. The Equal Protection 
     Voting Rights Act is the type of election reform that is 
     essential to this process and we commend Senator Dodd for his 
     leadership in this crucial fight for justice and equality.
                                  ____

                                        The League of Women Voters


                                         of the United States,

                                Washington, DC, February 11, 2002.
     Re Election Reform

       Members of the U.S. Senate: The League of Women Voters 
     urges you to support the bipartisan election reform bill 
     developed by Senators Dodd, McConnell, Bond and Schumer. The 
     legislation will be offered as a substitute to S. 565. While 
     the substitute is not perfect, it contains the key elements 
     needed to improve our nation's election systems.
       The 2000 election demonstrated that basic reforms are 
     needed at the federal, state and local levels to protect 
     voters and to improve election administration. It is also 
     clear that it is time for the federal government to pay its 
     fair share of the costs of administering federal elections.
       The Dodd-McConnell substitute provides for basic national 
     standards in vital, but limited, areas. It provides 
     substantial federal funds for election reform efforts. And it 
     provides a blueprint on which federal, state and local 
     efforts can be built.
       To protect voters and improve administration, the 
     substitute provides for minimum national standards in three 
     areas. First, voting systems standards will assure that 
     voters can verify and correct their ballots, as well as be 
     notified of overvotes. These standards also protect against 
     high voting machine error rates and enhance access for 
     persons with disabilities. Second, a national standard will 
     assure that voters can receive provisional ballots. This 
     fail-safe system means that if a voter's name is not found on 
     the registration list at the polls, or if other problems 
     occur, the voter can still cast a ballot that will be counted 
     if the voter's eligibility is confirmed. Third, statewide 
     computerized voter registration lists will be required. This 
     facilitates removal of duplicate registrations across 
     jurisdictions, provides greater assurance that names will be 
     on the rolls, and streamlines administration while combating 
     possible fraud.
       The substitute provides funding through state grants 
     programs that will be developed with public involvement. 
     Funds are provided not only for meeting standards, but also 
     for other vital areas of election administration, including 
     poll worker training and providing access to the polls for 
     persons with disabilities. The substitute sets up a new 
     federal commission that can provide effective guidance, while 
     Justice Department enforcement of voter protection laws, such 
     as the Voting Rights Act, is maintained.
       While the substitute is a strong bill, it contains a photo 
     ID requirement that will result in discrimination and create 
     real administrative problems at polling places. Though the 
     requirement is described as an anti-fraud device, effective 
     alternatives exist to meet anti-fraud objectives that will 
     not undermine voter participation through absentee balloting 
     by persons with disabilities, seniors and others. We strongly 
     urge you to correct this provision. We are also concerned 
     that the so-called ``safe harbor'' provisions of the bill 
     will have unintended, deleterious consequences.
       The League of Women Voters believes that the Senate must 
     act expeditiously on this important topic. We urge you to 
     move ahead with the Dodd-McConnell substitute, which is 
     clearly preferable to the House-passed bill in setting a 
     workable structure for reform and creating an effective 
     election commission.
       America deserves an election system that will protect the 
     most basic and precious right of all citizens in a 
     democracy--the right to vote. Each citizen's right to vote, 
     and to have that vote fairly counted, is at stake.
                                        Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins,
     President.
                                  ____

                                           Secretary of the State,


                                                State Capitol,

                                    Hartford, CT, January 7, 2002.
     Hon. Christopher J. Dodd,
     U.S. Senate, Russell Building, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Dodd: Thank you for your leadership in the 
     area of election reform and for all of your hard work in 
     developing your bi-partisan compromise on election reform. I 
     have reviewed the language in S. 565 and I am extremely 
     pleased with its contents, particularly with the statewide 
     voter registration system and voting machine requirements. 
     The federal funding provided for those and other purposes 
     will greatly benefit Connecticut and all the states.
       At the close of the 2001 legislative session, the 
     Connecticut Legislature established a Voting Technology 
     Alternatives Commission to study and make recommendations 
     regarding voting technology issues. The federal guidelines 
     and assistance provided for in S. 565 will help shape both 
     the Commission's final recommendations and any state 
     legislative action in this area. As a member of this 
     Commission, I have already provided all the members of the 
     Commission a copy of S. 565 for their review.
       In addition, I will be attending the National Association 
     of Secretaries of the State winter meeting in Washington D.C. 
     from February 7-10 and hope to have the opportunity to meet 
     with you. My Office will contact your staff with more 
     details. I look forward to working with you on the important 
     issue of election reform and I wish you well in securing its 
     passage.
           Sincerely,
     Susan Bysiewicz.
                                  ____

                                               Secretary of State,


                                                State Capitol,

                                    Atlanta, GA, January 18, 2001.
     Hon. Christopher Dodd,
     Chairman, Committee on Rules and Administration, U.S. Senate, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Dodd: I am pleased to write to express my 
     support for S. 565 and for your efforts, and that of Senators 
     McConnell, Schumer, Bond and Torricelli, to craft strong, 
     effective and bipartisan election reform legislation.
       As you are aware, Georgia has moved to the forefront among 
     states in the drive to acquire and deploy election systems 
     that are more accurate, more convenient and more accessible 
     and disabled voters. With the passage of our own SB 213 last 
     year, Georgia became the first state in the nation to mandate 
     a modern, uniform voting system for every county and every 
     community. This year, Governor Roy Barnes has endorsed our 
     ambitious plan to acquire and deploy new generation 
     electronic voting equipment (DRE) in every Georgia county in 
     time for the November 2002 general election.
       While Georgia election officials and policymakers are 
     strongly united behind our initiative to improve voting 
     equipment, critical to our efforts is the expectation that 
     the federal government will be a helpful partner in advancing 
     this goal, and will make available substantial funding to 
     help pay for these improvements. In that regard, we were 
     heartened by House passage of the Ney-Hoyer election reform 
     package, and were then extremely pleased to learn that you, 
     ranking member McConnell and others had reached bipartisan 
     agreement on S. 565.
       I believe your legislation provides an excellent platform 
     and roadmap for election reform which, as you know, must 
     primarily be executed at the state and local level. The 
     funding provisions of S. 565 are outstanding, and would 
     enable states to make much needed investments in new voting 
     and registration systems. I also strongly support your 
     emphasis on assuring that blind and disabled voters have a 
     full opportunity to cast their ballots independently and 
     without assistance. The bill's emphasis on assuring that each 
     state has procedures under which a provisional ballot can be 
     cast is also welcome.
       While there are areas of the bill where I would prefer some 
     modifications, (as would be the case with nearly any 
     legislation of such magnitude and scope) it is my belief that 
     S. 565 represents a giant step forward towards reaching our 
     goal of designing and deploying election systems that assure 
     that the electoral choice of each and every voter will be 
     accurately counted.
       Thank you for your steadfast leadership in moving election 
     reform legislation forward in the United States Senate and I 
     look forward to continuing to work with you to achieve our 
     common goals.
       With best wishes,
           Sincerely,
     Cathy Cox.
                                  ____

                                                     Office of the


                                           Secretary of State,

                                Carson City; NV, January 25, 2002.
     Hon. Christopher Dodd,
     Chairman, Committee on Rules and Administration, U.S. Senate, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Dodd: On behalf of the citizens of Nevada, I 
     would like to express my support for Senate Bill 565, which I 
     feel is an important step in the election reform process. I 
     am especially impressed with the bipartisan support the bill 
     has received, and believe wholehartedly in many of the 
     provisions called for in S. 565, particularly its focus on 
     civil rights and accessibility issues. Moreover, S. 565 
     includes an impressive financial commitment from the federal 
     government that will help meet the mandates outlined in the 
     bill, thereby allowing Nevada counties to update antiquated 
     equipment with the latest technology without bearing the 
     enormous cost of undertaking such a project on their own.
       I would like to personally thank you for asking for my 
     opinion and thoughts on the legislation. I believe very 
     strongly that as secretaries of state, it is important for us 
     to work as closely as possible with members of Congress as 
     they seek to enact real and meaningful federal voter 
     protections and reform. I hope that as deliberations progress 
     in

[[Page S725]]

     the House and Senate, secretaries of state will continue to 
     be asked by Congress to add their important voices and 
     experience to the discussions.
       The bipartisan leadership demonstrated by you and Senators 
     McConnoll, Schumor, Bond and Torricelli and other members of 
     the U.S. Senate in crafting a package that would be a 
     positive step in the election reform process is very 
     encouraging. The principles outlined in the ``Equal 
     Protection of Voting Rights Act'' are certainly a step in the 
     right direction, and I recognize S. 565 as important 
     legislation that will better ensure the integrity of the 
     election process.
       I have long been an advocate of election reform. In each of 
     the past three sessions of the Nevada State Legislature, I 
     have promoted legislation that would create a statewide 
     system of voter registration. This statewide system would 
     allow the Secretary of State's office to act as a central 
     repository for voter registration rolls, and ease the process 
     of clearing those rolls of duplicate names, deceased persons 
     and others who are ineligible to vote. Although this proposal 
     would have dramatically reduced the potential for voter 
     fraud, it has failed in every legislative session in which it 
     was introduced. Likewise, my calls to improve the absentee 
     balloting process, especially for our overseas military 
     personnel, have faced strong resistance from state 
     legislators. Senate Bill 565 parallels many of my efforts and 
     may motivate Nevada lawmakers to pursue election reform for 
     the Silver State.
       Again, thank you for your leadership and efforts in 
     bringing this important legislation to the forefront of 
     deliberations in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to 
     continuing to work closely with you and your colleagues to 
     achieve our common goal of election reform measures that will 
     truly enhance the voting process for all Americans
           Respectfully,
                                                      Dean Heller,
                                               Secretary of State.

  Mr. DODD. I know there are discussions going on regarding a couple of 
proposals to try and work out some things, but I invite my colleagues, 
who may be engaged in other activities in their respective offices, if 
nothing particularly important is happening, and if they have a 
proposal they would like to have heard on on this bill, to come on 
over. We are open for business on amendments. We will consider them on 
either side. I do not know of many we have, but there may be some. I 
have talked to some colleagues who have some questions about the bill. 
If they do have questions, I invite them to come to the Chamber, and I 
will try to address them in colloquies to either alleviate their 
concerns--or heighten them, I suppose, depending upon my answer to 
their question.
  We would like to get this bill done. I know there are other matters. 
The leader, I know, wants to bring up the energy bill. I think that is 
the next item on the agenda. Given the amount of work we have put into 
election reform--and, again, I thank immensely my colleagues from 
Kentucky, Senator McConnell; Missouri, Senator Bond; New York, Senator 
Schumer; New Jersey, Senator Torricelli; Trent Lott, and Tom Daschle, 
the majority leader. A lot of work and a tremendous amount of effort 
has gone into this effort over many hours. Obviously, we are not there 
yet. We still have to go to a conference with the House. Our fervent 
hope is to get this done as soon as we can.
  With the $3.5 billion that we provide in this bill and the $1.2 
billion the President has already put in his budget, there is every 
reason to believe we could actually get resources back to our States 
and our localities to improve the election systems for the elections 
this fall.
  There are a lot of other provisions in this bill that do not become 
effective for several years down the road, but for our Secretaries of 
State and our registrars of voters across the country who are anxious 
to get some financial help on these matters, if we get this bill done, 
get the conference report done, and then get a Presidential signature, 
which I think we can get if we work out this legislation, then there is 
every good reason to believe those resources could begin flowing to our 
States even this year.
  I do not need to remind anyone in this Chamber, or anyone in the 
other body, that the events of September 11 and ensuing events have 
overwhelmed, obviously, our attention, but it was only 14 months ago 
that this Nation was fixated on one of the worst election debacles in 
the history of the country. It is not in any way to question the 
outcome. We all support the outcome uncategorically. Certainly, 
watching day after day, week after week--and for the Presiding Officer, 
this was not just an intellectual exercise.
  As the distinguished junior Senator from the State of Florida, he 
knows painfully how long and how difficult this process was for his own 
constituents, as not only the Nation but the world was fixated on his 
State. I have said in this Chamber on numerous occasions, it was an 
unfair fixation. There were plenty of other places around the country 
where the problems were identical to the problems that the people of 
Florida went through, but because of the nature of the electoral 
college, the attention was focused on Florida.
  I think the American public--in fact, every survey I have seen--
believes our election system is in desperate need of repair. We lecture 
a good part of the world about how to conduct elections, how important 
it is to vote, how important democratic institutions are. We realized 
what happened last year. According to nonpartisan analyses from 
Caltech, MIT, the General Accounting Office, the Carter-Ford 
Commission, along with many other groups around the country who 
analyzed the elections nationwide, our system is broken. It is in 
serious shape and it needs repair. That is not an adverse reflection on 
the thousands and thousands of people all across the country who worked 
very hard, under very difficult circumstances, to see to it that people 
had the right to vote and their votes counted. We also painfully know 
that when it comes to allocating resources at the State level, this is 
a very difficult budget item; that there are always other items that 
seem to have more public support than the issue of better voting 
machines or better equipment or training for poll watchers and the 
like.

  So painfully, despite all of the notoriety about the 2000 election 
last year, only three States have acted, the State that the Presiding 
Officer represents so ably, the State of Florida, and the State of 
Georgia--and a great tribute should go to Cathy Cox, by the way, the 
Secretary of the State of Georgia. And I want to thank our two 
colleagues from Georgia, Max Cleland and Zell Miller, who hosted the 
Rules Committee's field hearing in Atlanta, GA. Also, the Governor 
could not have been more gracious. To their great credit, they really 
stepped up to the plate. Georgia, Maryland and Florida are leading the 
country today in some of the most innovative ideas on election reform.
  Unfortunately, other States did not. There is one other State that 
did, but after all the events of last year those are all the States 
that rose to the occasion.
  So, again, I invite my colleagues to come on over. We would like to 
finish this bill. I am not suggesting we go to third reading in the 
next few minutes, but I invite Members who have amendments to come and 
give us a chance to consider them, accept what we can of various 
proposals, debate others, vote on them, if necessary, but move the 
process along.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the order for the 
quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, I will use my leader time to make a 
statement at this time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has that right.
  (The remarks of Mr. Daschle are printed in today's Record under 
``Morning Business.''
  Mr. DASCHLE. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Reed). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I may speak 
for up to 15 minutes as if in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

[[Page S726]]

  (The remarks of Mr. Specter are printed in today's Record under 
``Morning Business.'')
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, the majority leader has asked that I 
announce there will be no more rollcall votes today. Senator Dodd and 
Senator McConnell have, I will not say begged but they sure have asked 
people to come over and offer amendments. We need to finish this bill. 
We have so much more that needs to be done. This is an extremely 
important bill, one of the most important bills to have come through 
this body in a long time. These two men have spent not hours or days 
but weeks and weeks of their time trying to get the bill here. We need 
to get the bill finished tomorrow.
  Those with amendments need to bring them over. We are going to start 
early in the morning. If they do not, I will join with the managers of 
the bill to go to third reading. It is not fair to everyone with so 
much to do to have to wait around for amendments.
  There will be no more rollcall votes tonight.
  The managers have indicated they will try to clear some amendments 
tonight that will require no more rollcall votes. These are two of the 
most experienced managers we could have in the Senate, but they need 
something to manage. Right now there is a lot of talk about offering 
amendments, but nothing is happening.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.


                           Amendment No. 2688

  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that Senate 
amendment No. 2688, the bipartisan substitute, be agreed to; that the 
motion to reconsider be laid upon the table; that the bill as thus 
amended be considered as original text for the purpose of further 
amendment, and provide further that no points of order are waived by 
this agreement.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment (No. 2688) was agreed to.


                           Amendment No. 2874

  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, on behalf of myself and the distinguished 
Senators from Washington, Ms. Cantwell and Mrs. Murray, I send an 
amendment to the desk and ask for its immediate consideration.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Connecticut [Mr. Dodd], for Ms. Cantwell, 
     for herself, Mrs. Murray, and Mr. Dodd, proposes an amendment 
     numbered 2874.

  Mr. DODD. I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be 
dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To treat absentee ballots and mail-in ballots in the same 
 manner as other paper ballot voting systems under the voting systems 
standards and to ensure that voters are informed how to correct voting 
              errors before a ballot is cast and counted)

       On page 5, strike lines 4 through 14, and insert the 
     following:
       (B) A State or locality that uses a paper ballot voting 
     system, a punchcard voting system, or a central count voting 
     system (including mail-in absentee ballots or mail-in 
     ballots), may meet the requirement of subparagraph (A) by--
       (i) establishing a voter education program specific to that 
     voting system that notifies each voter of the effect of 
     casting multiple votes for an office; and
       (ii) providing the voter with instructions on how to 
     correct the ballot before it is cast and counted (including 
     instructions on how to correct the error through the issuance 
     of a replacement ballot if the voter was otherwise unable to 
     change the ballot or correct any error).

  Mr. DODD. I will defer to my colleague from Washington to take a few 
minutes, if she would like, and describe what this amendment is and 
what it does. I am informed by my friend from Kentucky that this is an 
amendment to which we can agree. The staffs have worked on this 
amendment. But why doesn't the Senator from Washington take a few 
minutes. I am glad we could work this out with her and others in her 
State.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I appreciate Senator Dodd's strong 
commitment to this legislation. Together with Senator Murray I also 
appreciate his efforts here today to work with us on language that 
preserves the ability of States like ours, that have high volumes of 
absentee and mail-in voters, to continue to use those mail in systems.
  This amendment adds to the voting system standards section of the 
legislation to make sure that the ability of voters to vote by mail-in 
and absentee ballot is not limited by our efforts to improve the 
ability of other voters to cast accurate ballots in the polling place.
  This system is very important. The voters of my State are proud of 
this system and extremely committed to seeing it continue. In addition, 
I believe the voting by mail adequately protects against the types of 
problems encountered in Florida because in these elections voters take 
their time in casting their votes and are able to consult instructions 
and other ballot information.
  Voters in my State have made it clear that they are willing to work 
with the system but want to make sure mail-in ballots and absentee 
ballots are preserved. This amendment preserves the ability to vote by 
mail while also setting forth new safeguards that will better inform 
voters how to correctly fill out their ballot and ensure their votes 
are counted.
  I thank the leaders of this legislation for their support for this 
amendment. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky.
  Mr. McCONNELL. The amendment of the Senator from Washington is agreed 
to on this side of the aisle. I am aware of no opposition.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. If there is no further debate, the question is 
on agreeing to the amendment.
  The amendment (No. 2874) is agreed to.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote.
  Mr. DODD. I move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, the Senator from New York is about to be 
heard. As the majority whip pointed out, there will be no further 
rollcall votes tonight, but Senator Schumer has an opening statement he 
would like to make. There is an effort right now to reach agreement on 
two or three amendments by the Senator from New York. During his 
remarks on the bill, my hope is we might clear these other three 
amendments. I think that would be it for the evening, if we can do 
that.
  Mr. McCONNELL. I say to my friend, we are looking at the amendments 
now and hope we can achieve that goal shortly.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I rise to speak on this legislation with 
which, as many of my colleagues know, I have been long involved. The 
legislation we consider today is one of the most important pieces of 
legislation we will consider all year. Congress has a responsibility to 
ensure that every eligible American who goes to vote gets to vote and 
that every vote cast counts.
  What we have learned from the 2000 elections is that as strong as our 
democracy is, we have been lax in the upkeep of the actual mechanism 
that drives it, our voting systems. That is why we have come together 
across party lines to pass this election reform legislation.
  I thank our chairman, Senator Dodd, for his leadership in bringing 
this critical legislation to the floor. He has been tireless in his 
devotion to getting it done.
  I also commend the ranking member of the committee, Senator 
McConnell, for his commitment to improving our Nation's election 
systems as well. Senator McConnell and I had introduced a bill that in 
many ways is part of this ultimate bill. I am proud to be part of the 
effort, along with Senators Dodd and Bond and Torricelli and McCain and 
Durbin, to make this happen.
  The right to vote, as we all know, is at the very heart of our 
democracy. It is a right that, throughout our history, brave men and 
women have risked their well-being, their very lives, to exercise. It 
was for the right to vote that American patriots fired the shots heard 
around the world at Lexington and Concord, thereby initiating the 
Revolutionary War in 1775. It was for the right

[[Page S727]]

to vote that Susan B. Anthony bore arrest, trial, and conviction after 
she challenged laws barring women from the polls by casting a ballot in 
Rochester, NY, in 1872.
  It was for the right to vote that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and 
other civil rights activists--including my former colleague in the 
House, Congressman John Lewis--marched from Selma to Montgomery, AL, in 
1965.
  Blood continues to be spilled over our democratic ideals. The core 
reason for the September 11 attacks that so devastated this Nation, and 
particularly my home State and city, is that terrorists hate our 
democracy: a democracy where all Americans--regardless of religion, 
gender, race, economic status, physical ability--have a say in how our 
Government is run; a democracy where every person is equal, and because 
some people are in some high theocratic or political position, they 
don't have any more right to determine the outcome of an election than 
our average person.
  We in the United States have a special obligation, a duty, to ensure 
the right to vote--not only to honor those who sacrificed so we have 
this right but to ensure that Americans today and in the future will be 
fully able to exercise it.
  First and foremost, we must have voting machines and systems that are 
accessible to people, that are easy to use and that work. To my mind, 
the most important provisions in this bill are the grant provisions 
that will provide $3.5 billion to states and localities to meet federal 
standards and to update and modernize their voting systems. Federal 
funds for the improvement of old voting machines is something that I 
have been talking about ever since the 2000 election, and was something 
that I included in my election reform bill last year that Senator 
McConnell and I sponsored.
  I first voted in 1969, and I sued the same type of machine when I 
voted in 2000 in spite of all the technological changes in the 
intervening years. Just because we are the world's oldest democracy 
does not mean we have to use the world's oldest technology that is 
simple.
  The problem does not end with the machines, although in my State that 
is a big problem. Throughout this nation there are inadequately 
maintained registration lists, confusingly designed ballots, and phone 
lines that were so busy that voters could not get through to conform 
their registration status.
  In my home state of New York, in November 2000, people waited in line 
for hours to vote. Many voters--those who could not afford to be late 
for work or that had to get home to their children--waited in line and 
ultimately left the polling place without being able to participate in 
one of the most critical and closest elections of our time.
  You should have seen the look on the faces of these people, some of 
them voting for the first time, doing good for the country, many of 
them in their work clothes, and the look of disappointment as they 
waited and waited and then could not vote.
  Others waited and waited only to be confronted with the cruel reality 
that the voting machines in their precinct were broken or that the 
polling place had run out of emergency ballots. Again, the looks on 
their faces had a lasting impression on me.
  Voting should be accessible, accurate and speedy--in all places, all 
the time. You cannot say, well, it is good most of the time because the 
right to vote is so precious. The grant programs included in this bill 
will allow states and localities to do just that.
  This bill also includes standards for the states and localities--
which I believe will be a great improvement in the ability of people to 
vote across this nation.
  To Wit:
  The bill sets voting system standards that will allow voters to check 
their ballots and correct errors, that will make voting more accessible 
for the disabled and non-English speakers, and that requires voting 
systems to meet the error rate set by the FEC;
  The bill establishes provisional voting in every state, which will 
insure that every person who goes to the polls has the opportunity to 
cast a ballot;
  The bill establishes important anti-fraud provisions, including a 
statewide computerized voter registration database that will allow poll 
workers to have the information that they need in front of them on 
election day.
  I think that these provisions make a lot of sense. They will help 
people to have greater access to the polls while at the same time 
decreasing fraud in our voting systems.
  The final critical piece of this legislation is the establishment of 
an independent election agency. This is something that I have 
supported, and that I included in the election reform bill that I 
introduced with my colleague from Kentucky, Senator McConnell.
  The bipartisan four-person Commission will oversee the grants 
programs and the implementation of the federal standards, will provide 
information to the states and to the public about federal elections, 
and will keep a watchful eye on our voting systems so that we are 
continuously updating them. With the Commission in place, hopefully we 
will never face the situation that we faced in the 2000 elections 
again.
  Like most bipartisan legislation, this bill is a compromise--but I 
believe that it is a good compromise that is based on core principles 
that we all share. It will allow us to improve our voting systems and 
make our election process better.
  The right to vote is a sacred trust--a covenant--between the 
government and the people. I urge all of my colleagues to vote for this 
bipartisan election reform legislation, so that we can give the 
American people the election system that they and our grand democracy 
deserve.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Miller). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


                 Amendments Nos. 2871 and 2873, En Bloc

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I have two amendments which I would like 
to be considered en bloc.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The clerk 
will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from New York [Mr. Schumer] proposes amendments 
     numbered 2871 and 2873, en bloc.

  The amendments are as follows:


                           Amendment No. 2871

(Purpose: To specify how lever voting systems may meet the multilingual 
                     voting materials requirement)

       On page 8, strike lines 5 through 18, and insert the 
     following:
       (B) Exceptions.--
       (i) If a State meets the criteria of item (aa) of 
     subparagraph (A)(i)(I) with respect to a language, a 
     jurisdiction of that State shall not be required to provide 
     alternative language accessibility under this paragraph with 
     respect to that language if--

       (I) less than 5 percent of the total number of voting-age 
     citizens who reside in that jurisdiction speak that language 
     as their first language and are limited-English proficient; 
     and
       (II) the jurisdiction does not meet the criteria of item 
     (bb) of such subparagraph with respect to that language.

       (ii) A State or locality that uses a lever voting system 
     and that would be required to provide alternative language 
     accessibility under the preceding provisions of this 
     paragraph with respect to an additional language that was not 
     included in the voting system of the State or locality before 
     the date of enactment of this Act may meet the requirements 
     of this paragraph with respect to such additional language by 
     providing alternative language accessibility through the 
     voting systems used to meet the requirement of paragraph 
     (3)(B) if--

       (I) it is not practicable to add the alternative language 
     to the lever voting system or the addition of the language 
     would cause the voting system to become more confusing or 
     difficult to read for other voters;
       (II) the State or locality has filed a request for a waiver 
     with the Office of Election Administration of the Federal 
     Election Commission or, after the transition date (as defined 
     in section 316(a)(2)), with the Election Administration 
     Commission, that describes the need for the waiver and how 
     the voting system under paragraph (3)(B) would provide 
     alternative language accessibility; and
       (III) the Office of Election Administration or the Election 
     Administration Commission (as appropriate) has approved the 
     request filed under subclause (II).

[[Page S728]]

     
                                  ____
                           amendment no. 2873

(Purpose: To require States and localities to mail a voter registration 
form to individuals who cast provisional ballots that were not counted)

       On page 13, strike line 22, and insert the following: ``is 
     not counted (such notice shall include the State's voter 
     registration form); and''.

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, these two amendments--both technical in 
nature, and I believe have been agreed to by the Senators from 
Connecticut and Kentucky, the majority and minority managers on this 
bill--deal with two issues. One deals with those States with lever 
issues, which my State of New York has, and what it allows a State or 
locality with lever machines to do is apply to DOJ for an exemption 
that will allow it to meet the linguistic accents requirement in title 
I. The exemption allows the State or locality to place any new 
languages that it is required to provide under this act under the DREs, 
instead of on the lever machines, to place them on the new machines if 
the State or locality shows that it would be impractical to add the new 
language to the lever machine or adding it would cause the voting 
system to become more confusing or difficult to read for other voters, 
and DOJ certifies this is the case.
  The reason is simple. Unlike other machines, the lever machines have 
limited space. If too many languages were required to be on the 
machines, it would become confusing and you couldn't really put a 
ballot together. This gives anybody who speaks those languages an 
ability to vote on the new machines that will be placed in every voting 
place that is used for the disabled and others without bollixing up the 
lever machine.
  The second amendment--since we are doing them en bloc, I would like 
to address both--requires that the notice sent to people whose 
provisional ballots were not counted includes a voter registration 
form, obvious for its purpose. If your ballot was not counted, there is 
probably something wrong with the way you registered or you were not 
registered, whatever.
  By giving these folks a voter registration form, they can reregister 
quickly and easily. I thank the Senator from Connecticut and the 
Senator from Kentucky for helping me refine these amendments and, as I 
mentioned before while they were off the floor, for their fabulous 
leadership on this bill.
  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I commend the Senator from New York. He has 
been a great help on this bill, generally speaking. These amendments 
not only will be important for New York but, as he has talked about 
them, there are other States as well that will appreciate the 
contribution the Senator from New York has made in these two proposals.
  I am in favor of both of these amendments. I just mention this to the 
Senator from New York. We are going to be looking at what the cost 
effect is of slipping in that reregistration form. It may not be much 
at all. I know the Senator from New York would probably want to know 
the answer to that as well.
  In the meantime, I will accept the amendment and take a look at that. 
I congratulate him on the amendments.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky.
  Mr. McCONNELL. I, too, commend the Senator from New York, who has 
been a collaborator with several of us on this issue going back over 
the last year, for his extremely important contribution to this bill 
and thank him for his great work.
  Mr. SCHUMER. I thank my leader collaborator, coconspirators from 
Kentucky and Connecticut, and urge adoption of the amendments.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. If there is no further debate, the question is 
on agreeing to amendments Nos. 2871 and 2873, en bloc.
  The amendments (Nos. 2871 and 2873), en bloc, were agreed to.
  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote.
  Mr. McCONNELL. I move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, that will be the business for this evening. 
Actually, we completed some work. We had about five amendments adopted 
in the last 4\1/2\ hours. I thank, again, the Senator from New York.
  Tomorrow morning, we may get to the bill around 10:15. I have been 
told that if we can get some agreement, maybe tomorrow, on final 
passage at a decent hour late tomorrow afternoon, early tomorrow 
evening--I don't know if that is possible or not--it may be possible 
for us to complete the business of the Senate by tomorrow. That is 
obviously subject to the work of the two leaders. At least there is a 
good possibility. I know that will be warm news to those who would like 
to get back to their respective States earlier rather than later. I 
can't help but note the smile of the Presiding Officer with that news.
  I thank my colleague from Kentucky for his help today in working 
through this. There will be a series of other amendments, people coming 
forward with ideas. We want to accommodate everybody we can, realizing 
that, as we said at the outset, this is new ground we are breaking in 
many areas. We are very sensitive and conscious of the State and local 
involvement in this process. We want to accommodate States and 
localities to the maximum extent possible as we try to become a better 
partner in the conduct of elections. We are trying to do work that is 
sometimes a little confusing, but I think we have done a pretty good 
job so far. I am hopeful tomorrow we can resolve these other 
amendments.
  My final plea is to Members: Please, there are more and more 
amendments. Some of them, I am told, are just colloquies. Some Members 
just want to offer the amendment and withdraw it and discuss their 
idea. I urge Members, please, if you are interested in doing that, come 
over first thing in the morning so we can get to the amendments that 
may require votes because we can't resolve them. We will have to just 
leave them up to the Members to decide whether or not they want to 
include them in the bill or not. I urge Members to come over.

  Mr. SCHUMER. Will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. DODD. I am happy to yield.
  Mr. SCHUMER. We have an amendment we would just like to file this 
evening as to the signature forms so that people could take a look at 
it, and signature attestation, I believe, on behalf of myself and 
perhaps the Senator from Washington, Ms. Cantwell.
  I ask unanimous consent that we be allowed to file that amendment 
tonight.
  Mr. DODD. No problem.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DODD. I thank a lot of people for their work. I note the presence 
of the Presiding Officer. Cathy Cox, who is Secretary of State of 
Georgia, I want the Presiding Officer to know, has been incredibly 
helpful in this process. She is a remarkable person. I know the Senator 
from Georgia appreciates that extremely. I want to let him and others 
know how helpful she has been in helping us see through ideas that 
would be productive and constructive.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, let me add that I, too, would like to 
see this bill wrapped up early evening tomorrow. I am hopeful, I say to 
my friend from Connecticut, that we will get the cooperation on this 
side of the aisle to achieve that goal.
  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, I rise today to support my amendment 
specifying that Election Reform Incentive Grant Program funds may go to 
States wishing to establish toll-free telephone hotlines to be used by 
voters reporting possible voting fraud and voting rights abuses.
  The election of 2000 reminded us that elections can be close and that 
public confidence in the outcome of elections depends on the accuracy, 
fairness, and legality of election procedures. Obtaining accurate 
results requires ensuring that fraudulent votes not dilute the votes 
cast by eligible voters and that all eligible citizens have poll 
access.
  Officials from a State's or locality's relevant investigating and 
enforcing

[[Page S729]]

agencies may not have the resources to oversee every polling location. 
Citizens who witness voting fraud or voting rights abuses may not know 
where to report a possible violation of law. A toll-free hotline would 
give citizens a means to help prevent voting fraud and voting rights 
abuses and would give States the information they need to prosecute 
violations and implement procedures to prevent further violations.
  The Indiana Bipartisan Task Force on Election Integrity recently 
issued a report developed through months of research and with the input 
of election officials, voter advocates, and citizens of the State. 
While the State of Indiana already has implemented many measures that 
will enhance the integrity of elections, the Task Force recommended 
additional reforms for that purpose, including the development of a 
toll-free telephone hotline to be used by voters who believe they have 
witnessed a voting irregularity or voting rights abuse.
  I believe that other States may wish to establish such hotlines, and 
I believe the hotlines could be an important tool in improving election 
accuracy, fairness, and legality. For these reasons, I ask my 
colleagues to support this amendment.

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