Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Cautions that there is ‘More to be Done’ in Fixing Nation’s Broken Electoral Systems

Media 10.17.02

Washington, DC?The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest and most diverse civil rights coalition, issued the following statement regarding today’s Senate passage of the final version of H.R. 3295, the “Help America Vote Act of 2002”:

“The final House-Senate agreement on election reform contains a number of badly needed improvements, but it takes several steps backwards as well,” said Wade Henderson, Executive Director of the LCCR. “Clearly, there is far more to be done before we can declare that the problems of the 2000 election are behind us.”

“The election reform agreement is an important step forward in improving electoral procedures and guaranteeing the right to vote, however it is not without its problems. The steps forward include the establishment of nationwide election standards, provisional balloting, statewide voter registration lists, and its authorization of funding to upgrade voting technology and improve accessibility for voters with disabilities. But the final bill contains several provisions that we believe will cause chaos at the polls, and that will not only make it easier to discriminate, but for some Americans, also make it harder to vote.

“The real impact of the new law will be determined by its implementation. Many of these changes will be meaningless, for instance, until Congress actually delivers on the funding that the bill promises. Because the conference agreement does not give citizens sufficient means to enforce their rights on their own, the Department of Justice must constantly be on guard to eradicate discrimination wherever it occurs. And the states must step up to their new responsibilities under the bill as well.

“For the past two years, the LCCR has spearheaded the efforts to fix our nation’s broken electoral systems, and these efforts will continue. The enactment into law of the ‘Help America Vote Act of 2002’ is now inevitable, but it is safe to say that our mission has not yet been fully accomplished.”