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National Issues

Rep. Holt Introduces Legislation to Establish National Standards for Counting Provisional Ballots PDF  | Print |  Email
By Rep. Rush Holt Press Release   
November 09, 2007

Holt Responds to House Administration, Elections Subcommittee Chairs Call for National Standards


In the wake of Congressional hearings today on the subject of Election Day registration and provisional ballots, Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today introduced legislation that would establish a national standard for the counting of provisional ballots. Holt’s bill would require ballots cast in a state to be counted in statewide races if the voter is registered anywhere in the state, and ballots cast in the correct Congressional district to be counted if the voter is registered anywhere in the Congressional district, regardless of whether or not the ballots were cast in the correct precinct.


“The Help America Vote Act sought to enfranchise voters by mandating that voters that are told they are not on the registration rolls be given provisional ballots,” Holt said.  “But it didn’t establish standards for how and when those ballots would be counted. In fact in many instances those ballots simply were not counted, leaving some to refer to them as ‘placebo ballots.’ I have introduced legislation today that addresses the need for a national standard.”


Testimony offered today by the public interest group Demos, at a hearing by the House Administration Subcommittee on Elections, revealed that in 2004 over one in three of the two million provisional ballots provided in that election was not counted. Holt commended Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren for pointing out during the hearing that fair and equitable standards for the counting of provisional ballots are currently lacking.


“Protecting the right to vote is an unending job,” said Holt, “I commend the Elections Subcommittee for taking up this important issue today, and I look forward to consideration of my legislation”

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