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Liberty and Security

Sounding Off
by Joseph Onek

Election Day and You: 5 Things You Need to Know

by Kelly Ceballos
Well in advance of November 2, the League of Women Voters has launched a nationwide voter education effort, 5 Things You Need to Know on Election Day, to familiarize voters with new election procedures and empower them to take action to personally ensure their vote is counted. To this end, the League has produced a quarter million 5 Things voter cards that are being distributed across the country. This year many voters will find some things different at their polling place, and these changes will make some of them feel like first-time voters. The League’s 5 Things gives long-time and first-time voters the information they need to look out for themselves and their votes on Election Day.

Safeguarding Your Vote

by Kelly Ceballos
As part of its continuing effort to assist state and local election officials in their implementation concerns related to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the League of Women Voters has produced a second report, Helping America Vote: Safeguarding the Vote. This new report urges election officials to safeguard our votes in 2004 by providing a more secure foundation for two key components of election administration: voting systems and voter registration systems. As Election Day nears, there are real steps that our nation’s election officials can take to protect our votes in November.

Presidential Public Funding: Worth Saving?

by Michael J. Malbin
The thirty-year-old system for funding presidential nomination contests that seemed to work well for 20 years is now failing. This year, both major parties’ nominees rejected public matching funds; the legal ceilings for campaign spending are simply too low and inflexible. In addition, the public funding formula has failed to empower average donors, and the Presidential Election Campaign Fund cannot make timely payments because not enough people check the box on their income tax forms to pay for the program. Those who believe the system is worth saving should start thinking about the alternatives, soon.

BCRA: Making a Difference

by Anthony Corrado
The 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) is the most important piece of campaign finance legislation since the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act. BCRA addressed the two biggest problems in the campaign finance system by banning the use of soft money in federal elections and placing new restrictions on candidate-specific issue advocacy advertising. On its passage, it was heralded as a major victory by reform advocates. But would the law fulfill its promise? The early returns indicate that BCRA has passed its first major tests (including the legal challenges) and is making a difference in the financing of national elections.

A Call To Action: It's Now or Never

Sounding Off
by Gloria Feldt

No Voter Turned Away

by Bob Guldin
Thanks to the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), many of the weaknesses in the U.S. electoral system revealed in the 2000 Presidential Election are being addressed. The Provisional Voting section of HAVA is one of the first parts of the law to be implemented and institutes provisional balloting as a nationwide right and practice as of January 1, 2004. If a person shows up at the polls on Election Day anywhere in the U.S. and claims to be eligible to vote, that person will be permitted to vote. With 50 states and thousands of local jurisdictions, it’s difficult to guarantee that this important voting right will be observed properly in all places.

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