AAA Asked to Help Nation's Voting System
Zaino, Jeffrey T., Dispute Resolution Journal
Regardless of party affiliation or personal feelings concerning the recent national election, we can all agree that the antiquated methods of voting and tabulating results in federal elections must be evaluated and constructively addressed," said William K. Slate II, president and CEO of the American Arbitration Association, at a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 5, 2000. The news conference had been called by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-New York) and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) to announce the Voting Study and Improvement Act of 2000, the two senators' response to the countless problems that occurred during last year's national election. The AAA, represented by Slate, was the nation's only private election provider invited to participate.
"Our current system, which differs in approach but is uniform in its ineptitude, is antediluvian," said Sen. Schumer. "We want to make sure we avoid in 2004 what happened in too many places in 2000."
The Schumer-Brownback bill calls for modernizing the nation's voting systems by directing the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to conduct a comprehensive study of alternative election methods. The suggested methods and issues to be studied include computerized voting machines, voting by mail, Internet voting, redesigned ballots, and expanding or changing the voting hours and locations. It is anticipated that the $10 million FEC study can be completed by Dec. 31, 2001. Following the study, a grant program-initially funded at $250 million-will provide states with funds to experiment with recommended new and innovative election methods.
Slate said of the proposed legislation, which will be introduced in Congress early this year: "As a nonpartisan, not-for-profit impartial organization, we applaud the bipartisan spirit of the proposed legislation. …