More MS news articles for March 2001

New Bill Calls for Review of Access at U.S. Voting Sites

Democratic legislators call for look at voting accessibility issues in the United States; plus other news in politics, health, community, and advocacy.

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News and Medical Briefs:
March 14, 2001

With memories of the 2000 presidential election melee still fresh in their minds, Democratic lawmakers want to toughen the 1965 Voting Rights Act to ensure that all Americans have equal access to the polls.

The bill introduced earlier this week calls for the establishment of a commission to study how to improve access for people with disabilities and others facing obstacles to voting. The bill, introduced by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Michigan Rep. John Conyers, would also have the government spend $3.5 billion to help states adopt uniform, statewide standards for election machinery by 2004.

At least 20,000 polling places across the country are inaccessible to people with disabilities, according to the Federal Election Commission.

"This is a civil rights proposal. This is not just creating a better voting machine," Dodd told reporters in explaining his bill, one of many to emerge as a consequence of the contested vote in Florida.

The bill carries the support of the NAACP, the AFL-CIO, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the National Organization of Women (NOW), the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and the National Federation of the Blind.

Read more about the bill here.