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  • Saturday, April 23, 2005


    Chairman of Voting Reform Panel Resigns

    I was turned on to this story via AmericaBlog. (wow. am I reliving the '70s yet? "turned on to"? who says that any more?) Anyway, as the story says, the Voting Reform Panel was formed out of the ashes and chaos of the 2000 election debacle. Seemed like a good idea but I remember hearing at the time about the delays in choosing members for it. The farfetched idea mooted about then was that the formation was delayed precisely so the panel could not possibly be effective in implementing reforms for the 2004 election. Hello? Prescient much?

    Some nice details about the enormous support they received for their work. From AP:

    WASHINGTON - The first chairman of a federal voting agency created after the 2000 election dispute is resigning, saying the government has not shown enough commitment to reform.

    DeForest Soaries said in an interview Friday that his resignation would take effect next week. Though Soaries, 53, said he wanted to spend more time with his family in New Jersey, he added that his decision was prompted in part by what he called a lack of support.

    "All four of us had to work without staff, without offices, without resources. I don't think our sense of personal obligation has been matched by a corresponding sense of commitment to real reform from the federal government," he said.

    Soaries and the other commissioners complained from the beginning that the group was underfunded and neglected by the lawmakers who created it.

    "It's bad enough to be working under extremely adverse circumstances, but what throws your thinking into an abyss, as it were, is why you would be doing that when, for instance, you have to beg Congress for money as if the commission was your idea," Soaries said.

    But the commission has failed to preside over the kinds of sweeping reforms some hoped for, with many counties still relying in November on the same punch-card and lever machines derided after the 2000 election. Soaries said the commission is making progress with improvements, including technical guidelines and centralized voter registration lists, that are supposed to be in place for the 2006 election.

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