Leading right up to the elections, the LWVUS and state Leagues continued to advocate for the implementation of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The LWVEF commissioned a survey of how ten states were implementing HAVA that helped to inform strategies for some state Leagues (see sidebar, p. 5). In Iowa, the LWVIA and LWVUS used the survey data to formulate a plan for legal action. Thanks to the efforts of the LWVIA, the Iowa Attorney General advised election officials to accept registration forms if voters forgot to check the citizenship box but signed the affidavit certifying their eligibility to vote.
The survey pointed to many potential problems for ensuring votes by eligible voters in Ohio would be counted. Before the election, the LWVOH was lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the Ohio Secretary of State's implementation of provisional balloting. The final ruling by the 6th Circuit was a confusing mix of directives that did not uphold the right to have a provisional ballot counted if it were cast outside the "home" precinct; but it did establish that cases can be brought to federal court under HAVA.
The League was pleased when the 4th Circuit U.S. District Court ruled on a Michigan case that voters need not be in the right precinct in order to have their provisional ballots counted. The LWVUS and LWVFL lobbied the Florida Secretary of State on voter registrations insisting that they accept voter registration applications with the citizen box unmarked if the citizenship attestation was signed.
LWVUS sent more than 25 action alerts on League priority issues, including election reform supporting HAVA funding and the Our Democracy, Our Airwaves Act; civil liberties calling for fixes to the Patriot Act, supporting the Security and Freedom Ensured Act (SAFE) and the Freedom to Read Act; supporting DC Voting Rights and opposing the elimination of DC gun laws enacted by the District's representative government; clean air opposing the dirty energy bill and the "Clear Skies" initiative; campaign finance reform defending the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and opposing loopholes for soft money; and reproductive choice opposing the Unborn Victims of Violence Act and defending the United Nations Population Fund.
In the "lame duck" session of the 108th Congress, the League continued to track the hotly...