Voting Rights: Disenfrachisement
Voting Rights: Disenfranchisement
Disenfranchisement, or being denied the right to vote, in the United States has a long and bitter history that has yet to be eradicated by the passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) . Today those denied the opportunity to vote because of malfunctioning electronic voting technology, poorly trained poll workers, or arbitrary application of key provisions of HAVA are also victims of disenfranchisement. The importance of suffrage, the right to vote, should never be threatened by the introduction of new technology.
- Adopt public election policy that extends the franchise to all Americans regardless of their physical ability, language of origin, or literacy ability to allow equal participation in public elections.
- Provide sufficient local, state and federal resources to train adequately Election Day poll workers on the correct functioning, proper setup, close-out, and the course of action that should be taken if a voting machine malfunctions.
- Employ new technology for use in public elections only if it does not pose any new challenges to full voter participation.
- All ballots should be voter verifiable to ensure that they are accurately recorded for the purpose of determining the outcome of any public election.
- All reported election results starting at the polling location should include the numbers of “no votes,” “unrecorded votes,” or “under votes”. These results should be made available at the same time and in the same manner that final tallys for candidates or questions on the ballot are announced.
- Avoid centralized voter registration databases until states are equipped with adequate encryption and information assurance protocols supported by trained computer security personnel to insure the proper management of records.
- Make available sufficient numbers of optical ballots at each polling location on Election Day to ensure that in the likely event of equipment failures or malfunctions alternative means of exercising the right to vote are available.
- Independent voter verification of ballots must be made accessible to all voters. Adequate numbers of assistive technologies capable of reading selections made on punch card ballots, optical ballots, and printer generated DRE ballots must be available at each polling location.
All the above information is courtesy of the National Committee for Voting Integrity