Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Monday, March 19, 2001

Release #081-01

Contact: Sunny Mindel / Michael Anton
(212) 788-2958
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Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today joined U. S. Senator Charles Schumer to announce his support for the Federal Election Modernization Act. This bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senator Schumer and Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), would help states and localities upgrade their voting systems.

"It's clear to everyone that our voting system needs to be overhauled and upgraded," Mayor Giuliani said. "Senator Schumer's legislation will give states and local governments the tools to do just that-while allowing them the flexibility to find solutions that meet their specific needs. I urge Congress to pass this bill, which will help protect the integrity of the voting process for all New Yorkers, and all Americans."

Senator Schumer said, "Just because we live in the world's oldest democracy doesn't mean we have to use the world's oldest voting technology. With the knowledge and resources my legislation brings, coupled with Mayor Giuliani's support and strong commitment to voting reform, I'm confident we can bring our voting systems into the 21st Century and give our city the voting overhaul it sorely needs."

The bill would establish a blue ribbon national commission to study ways to modernize and improve federal elections. The commission would be composed of eight members appointed by the President and the majority and minority leaders in Congress, as well as four non-voting advisory members, including the director of the FEC's Office of Election Administration, state and county-level election officials and a member of the US Commission on Civil Rights. The Commission would study a wide range of election issues, including voting methods, vote counting, ways to ensure accessibility to the polls and voting equipment, methods for identifying registered voters, ways to ensure the security and integrity of federal elections, methods of educating voters, issues relevant to voting in rural and urban areas, the feasibility of alternative voting times and places, and ways the federal government can permanently assist state and local authorities in administering federal elections.

The Commission would recommend which new methods of voting that promise the greatest ease for voters and the most accurate results, and report its findings to Congress no later than December 31, 2001.

The bill would also establish a matching grant program to states and localities funded at $2.5 billion over five years. The grants could be used to buy new voting equipment, train poll workers and implement the Commission's recommendations. Under the legislation, New York could begin receiving federal funding by April 1, 2002, allowing for the upgrade of some systems by the November 2002 elections.

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