Election reform on the way?

By Farhad Manjoo
Published February 18, 2005 12:02AM (EST)

Some good news on electoral reform: Today Senators Barbara Boxer, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, working together with Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, introduced the Count Every Vote Act, a bill that proposes several necessary improvements to the way Americans conduct democracy. Among other things, the legislation would require that all electronic voting machines print paper ballots; that ex-felons be allowed to vote; and that Election Day be made a federal holiday, so people don't have to worry about the consequences of being away from work while waiting in a line at the polls. The law, Boxer said in a press conference, "is meant to ensure [that] the election debacle of 2000, and the serious election irregularities of 2004, never ever happen again."

It's a helpful start. But election reform is a notoriously tricky thing to get through Congress (people who've already won aren't fans of changing the rules of the game), and, like reform proposals of years past, the Democrats' effort will go nowhere unless it garners the blessing of some Republicans (we mean you, John McCain!) and broad public support. In other words, to all the folks who insisted, last November, that Bush stole the election, we say: Call your representative and push for this bill.

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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