Nevada Complying With Federal Election Rules

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Nevada is in better shape than many states in ensuring it won't face the problems that plagued the 2000 presidential elections, the secretary of state's office said Friday.

Ronda Moore, Secretary of State Dean Heller's election deputy, said the Nevada efforts run counter to a new report by the Election Reform Information Project that says most states did little in 2003 to meet terms of the Help America Vote Act.

Moore said Nevada is replacing punch card ballots and improving provisional voting standards. The state also allows for early voting, and now lets first-time, nonviolent felons vote.

Also, a statewide voter registration database has been approved by legislators and should be in place by 2005. Most states sought waivers until 2006.

"Punch cards are not going to be used in this state in the 2004 elections, that's for sure," said Moore. "They're history. That's a very important thing."

Moore noted that Heller recently picked Sequoia Voting Systems as the supplier of new direct-recording electronic voting machines that will be bought with federal funds. She added Nevada was the first state to demand a voter-verifiable receipt printer on the new touch-screen voting machines.

"The secretary of state believes the printouts are a fundamental necessity," said Moore. "It means we'll have the best technology and we'll have voter confidence."

Heller picked Sequoia over Diebold Election Systems after getting a report stating a Diebold machine that was analyzed "represented a legitimate threat to the integrity of the election process."

Heller also decertified all punch-card voting machines in Nevada as of next Sept. 1, just before the state's primary, saying it's his duty "to provide voters with the highest level of confidence that elections in this state are fair, unbiased and secure."

The secretary of state's office also says every polling site in the state will have the same voting system and technology, and that will help as the state shifts to the statewide voter registration system prior to the 2006 elections.

Funding for the Sequoia machines and the printers will come from federal funds allotted to the states under HAVA. Moore said the state hopes to get about $20 million, and already has or will soon get just over half of that total.

"We have to make sure we're able to meet all the requirements of HAVA, which we haven't done yet," said Moore. "But we're well on our way."


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