Officials oppose voting reform bill

April 24, 2007 at 1:48 PM

WASHINGTON, April 24 (UPI) -- Groups representing officials at the state and local levels are petitioning Congress to nix a bill that would require paper records for electronic voting.

The groups, which represent secretaries of state, state legislators and county leaders, say the legislation, scheduled for a House committee vote and Senate hearings in the near future, would cause more problems than it would solve.

The measure would require paper records to be kept of electronic votes that could give voters proof of their vote and serve as official ballots in recounts.

Opponents contend the system would not be in place in time for the 2008 February primaries and the rush to install them would likely cause problems with voting.

"We're talking about 10 months from now -- that's nuts," said Mississippi Secretary of State Eric Clark, a Democrat. He said the rush would "absolutely assure a meltdown in the elections next year."

However, proponents of the legislation say they cannot afford to wait until after the 2008 election.

"What do you mean, too soon? It's eight years too late," says Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., the bill's sponsor. "We can't go through another federal election with people not believing the results."

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