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For Immediate Release
February 13, 2001
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky

National Association of Secretaries of State Adopts Resolution
Outlining Election Reforms

During its annual winter meeting last week, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) adopted a 12-point election reform resolution that addresses many issues that arose during the 2000-election cycle.  The resolution provides general guidelines and goals that eachstate and its election officials can pursue. 

“The NASS resolution is significant because it recognizes that conducting elections is the responsibility of state and local election officials,” stated Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky.   “The resolution seeks to preserve this responsibility, while encouraging statewide standards for election administration; modernization of voting equipment; and training and certification for election officials.”

“We are fortunate in Maine that our election process has many centralized features and standards,” continued Secretary Gwadosky.   “All state ballots are prepared by my office and delivered to the municipalities; all recounts are conducted by my office; and Maine leads the nation in ballot access with same day registration and any reason absentee voting.” 

The resolution is the result of efforts by a National Election Standards Task Force appointed by NASS.  Secretary Gwadosky is a member of the NASS Executive Committee and serves as treasurer of the organization. The Task Force was comprised of several secretaries of state and representatives from the National Association of State Election Directors, as well as a member of the Elections Center, an organization that provides training for local election officials.

National Association of Secretaries of State
Election Reform Resolution
Adopted February 6, 2001

     WHEREAS, the nation’s Secretaries of State are committed to protecting an individual’s right to vote by ensuring access, accuracy and integrity in elections;

     WHEREAS, the administration of elections is a complex enterprise involving 200,000 polling places, 7,000 jurisdictions, 1.4 million poll workers, more than 700,000 voting machines, 100 million voters and 22,000 elections officials;

     WHEREAS, the United States was founded upon the principle of self-government in which the right to vote is the most important and fundamental right of the people;

     WHEREAS, the conduct of elections is primarily the responsibility of state and county elections officials;

     WHEREAS, America’s voting systems and election procedures must ensure that all votes are counted accurately and that voting is easily understood and as convenient and accessible as possible; 

     WHEREAS, our collective expertise with elections issues and our strong commitment to fair and accurate elections will enhance our democratic process;

     WHEREAS, the recent election and subsequent civics lesson that emerged draws critical attention to the issues that NASS has steadfastly sought to address; and

     WHEREAS, to ensure that all eligible voters are afforded their constitutional right to vote and unfettered access to the elections process, 

The National Association of Secretaries of State recommends that State and Local governments and election officials continue to work to:

     1. Ensure non-discriminatory equal access to the elections system for all voters, including elderly, disabled, minority, military, and overseas citizens.

     2. Encourage the adoption and enforcement of election day rules and procedures to ensure equal treatment of all voters;

     3. Modernize the voting process as necessary, including voting machines, equipment, voting technologies and systems and implement well-defined, consistent standards for what counts as a vote throughout the election process ensuring accurate vote counts and minimal voter error;

     4. Encourage states to adopt uniform state standards and procedures for both recounts and contested elections, in order to ensure that each vote is counted and to provide public confidence in the election results; 

     5. Provide elections officials with increased funding to implement the recommendations of this resolution;

     6. Conduct aggressive voter education and broad-based outreach programs;

     7. Expand poll worker recruitment and training programs by adopting the innovative practices of other states and localities, with the ultimate goal of providing a satisfactory election day experience for all voters;

     8. Maintain accurate voter registration rolls with a system of intergovernmental cooperation and communication;

     9. Enhance the integrity and timeliness of absentee ballot procedures;

     10. Adopt and adhere to the Voluntary Federal Voting Systems Standards for Voting Systems;

     11. Provide for continuous training and certification for election officials; and

     12. Collect data and election information on a regular and consistent basis to provide a nexus for public consumption and systemic improvements.

NASS further recommends that the Congress:

     1. Fully fund the continuous update of the Federal Voting Systems Standards developed in consensus with state and local election officials;

     2. Fund the development of voluntary management practices standards for each voting system;

     3. Promote intergovernmental cooperation and communication among state and local elections officials to facilitate the maintenance of accurate voter registration rolls; and

     4. Provide funding to the States to implement the state and local recommendations of this resolution.

     Now, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Association of Secretaries of State welcomes the opportunity to work with the Administration, Congress, governors, state legislators and county election officials as well as organizations such as National Association of State Election Directors and the Election Center, all members of the election community, and concerned organizations, community groups, and the public to secure funding to ensure our citizens will have accurate, reliable, and efficient systems of elections;

     THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we, the National Association of Secretaries of State, reaffirm our determination and commitment to ensure that all eligible voters can register and vote, and that all votes will be counted accurately and fairly in each and every election.