Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Make Voting Work initiative brings millions of dollars to electoral reforms - SendMeRSS

A large, private foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, is financially supporting election system reforms. Although the Help America Vote Act of 2002 was a major overhaul of electoral machines and other system problems in the aftermath of the 2000 Presidential elections, this is an effort to focus on additional problems. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts:

The Pew Center on the States' Make Voting Work initiative and the JEHT Foundation today are joining with election experts and state and local officials across the country to address the most pressing problems facing voters during the 2008 elections. In partnership with the JEHT Foundation, Pew is awarding $2.5 million in funding to 16 projects that advance innovative solutions to critical flaws in our elections system and improve accuracy, convenience, efficiency and security for voters. An additional $1 million in funding will be awarded over the next six months. The projects were selected from 183 proposals submitted to Pew in 2007 from state and local governments and election experts.
Make Voting Work selected the 16 projects, which focus their work on five distinct areas where major failings have been identified and improvements are being debated and implemented by election officials, but where additional expertise is desired and necessary to shape and evaluate these efforts. These areas include:

Voter Registration System Assessment ($669,000)
Successful voter registration systems enable eligible citizens to vote without undue burden, secure our elections from those ineligible to participate and facilitate communication with voters. Yet, registration rolls are created from piecemeal data collected by local election officials, state motor vehicle agencies and other nonpartisan and partisan get-out-the-vote campaigns. As a result, rolls fail to keep pace with a mobile society and are often inaccurate and costly to maintain.

Vote Centers ($568,000)
States are increasingly grappling with the problem of overcrowded, inconveniently located and poorly designed polling places. In response, some states are experimenting with vote centers that replace neighborhood precincts and allow voters to cast ballots at large, centralized polling places anywhere in their city or county—near their work, school, shopping center or other destination.

Audits of Elections ($467,000)
With concerns about the accuracy of voting systems continuing to rise, post-election audit requirements have been adopted by states seeking to ensure the integrity of the electoral process. Still, state requirements vary dramatically and there are no generally accepted standards for how to verify an election outcome. Make Voting Work seeks to fill that void by funding the testing of multiple techniques for measuring the validity and accuracy of vote counts on various voting systems. In addition, Make Voting Work is supporting efforts to broaden the definition of an election audit, seeking to identify other elements—beyond vote counts—that should be audited, such as pre-election preparations and poll worker performance.

Online Training for Poll Workers ($318,000)
Volunteer poll workers are the foot soldiers of democracy, but, as recently documented by Pew's electionline.org, their enthusiasm needs to be joined with proper training—particularly essential as voting systems and rules take on greater complexity.

Election Performance Assessment ($465,000)
To further help election officials, policy makers and the public assess the true impact of changes in policies, practices and technologies, Make Voting Work aspires to identify means that can be consistently applied to measure accuracy, convenience, efficiency and security.
Link - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 18:47:44 GMT - Feed (10 subs)

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