Lieberman Examines Solutions to Widespread Disenfranchisement

WASHINGTON – Reacting to evidence that an untold number of people were denied the opportunity to vote or have their vote counted last November, Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) Wednesday declared that he will pursue legislative solutions to ensure that the constitutional right to vote is protected for all Americans.

Drawing on testimony from two days of Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearings on election reform, Lieberman noted he would work to address a range of problems that voters in the 2000 election faced, including faulty voting equipment, incomplete or inaccurate registration rolls, and language barriers.

“I hope Congress will ensure the American citizens? fundamental right to vote through election reform legislation adopted this year,” he said

Lieberman said estimates indicate that, nationwide, of all the ballots cast, 2.5 million were counted as a ?no-vote? for President. “Certainly some of these voters intended it this way,” he said. “Equally certain, however, is that many intended to record a choice for president, but had their votes discarded for any number of reasons, including confusing ballots, faulty voting equipment, rushed circumstances and scores of other, sometimes more elusive, factors.”

Among those other factors: a lack of voter instruction and education and poor accommodations for the disabled and the elderly. Witnesses, however, testified these problems can be overcome. Conny McCormack, Registrar-Recorder and County Clerk of Los Angeles County, described the success of a voting technology experiment in her county that not only greatly decreased the overall occurrence of errors, but that used equipment that could be adapted so blind people were able to vote without assistance.

“I hope this hearing serves as a reminder that Americans not only have a right to expect that their votes will be counted; they have an equal right to expect that their votes will be counted,” Lieberman said. “The constitutional promise of one person, one vote is not just a statement of principle, it is the legal right that every American has. And the first step in making this right a reality is providing all citizens with voting equipment they can count on, voting equipment that will count their votes.”