"Local officials take on voting rights groups"
Politico.com reports: Two days before legislation aimed at changing how the nation's votes are recorded was scheduled for a March markup in a House committee, the National Association of Counties realized it was in trouble.
Worried that the legislation would sail to the floor without amendments, NACo officials alerted their network of more than 27,000 elected officials to contact their lawmakers. In less than 24 hours, dozens of e-mails and faxes poured in to key committee members. Officials called the bill -- which would require paper records of all votes cast in time for the November 2008 election -- an unfunded mandate with an unworkable deadline.
Election reform has been a political priority for Democrats since the 2000 presidential election made hanging chads a household term. The issue provoked more debate last year when a closely contested Florida congressional seat was captured by Republicans after 18,000 votes cast on electronic touch-screen machines in a Democratic stronghold went unrecorded.
Democrats plan to bring verifiable vote legislation before the House as soon as next month. The bill's sponsor is Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), who may have made an early strategic error by not reaching out to the secretaries of state and other local leaders who would have to oversee the changes. -- Local officials take on voting rights groups