Election Reform Information Network
Letter to President Bush, 06/01/2001
President George W. Bush
Dear Mr. President,
I realize your first few months in office you have been very busy dealing with the budget, campaign finance reform, China, and many other issues. But I ask you not to forget about election reform, an issue very important to me and many other Americans. I would like for you to lead Congress to take appropriate action in the near future.
And what is "appropriate action"? Some have proposed that our elections be federalized, that the electoral college should be abolished and that a uniform voting system and ballot should be implemented nationwide. I disagree. I think the states should be responsible for elections. The U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court also place the burden of elections on the states, as pointed out in a March 13, 2001 review by the General Accounting Office at the request of Senate leaders.
However, as we learned in the aftermath of the November 2000 election, most states are not living up to their responsibilities, leaving cities and counties to run elections with little supervision or assistance. States need to ensure "equal protection", and that elections within their borders are fair, accurate, and honest. But most states lack the funds and/or the sense of urgency. For example, here in Missouri, the legislative session for this year has ended without passing any election reform measures.
Therefore, I believe "appropriate action" is for Congress to set minimal standards for voting rules and equipment, and to provide federal funding to help states upgrade to meet those standards. As the GAO report also points out, Congress has the authority to do this.
Election reform is not a "rehash" of the Florida controversy. Itís time to move on, and prepare for future elections. Action, not words, will restore public confidence in our democracy. Finally, remember that the problems that were encountered in the last presidential election, were also encountered in the previous two elections. The previous administration did not correct those problems, but yours can.