Voting is called a preservative right, meaning it helps to preserve other rights.
The ability to exercise one's right to vote is a fundamental part of any
functioning democracy. What does this ability entail? For one, those
who are eligible to be able to vote should be able to do so easily.
Further, once registered, voters should be able to go to the polls or
mail in a ballot with relative ease as well. Finally, voters should be
assured that when they cast their ballots the voting systems accurately
read and record their votes. It should go without saying that each vote
must be fairly and correctly counted.
Allegations of voting problems abounded in
the 2000 presidential election between former Vice President Al Gore and
former President George W. Bush abounded. That election, among other
things, exposed problems related to punch card ballots. In the wake of
that election, Congress passed in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in
2002. As part of HAVA states receive money to help update voting
systems. California received $380 million -- no small sum.
Now comes word here, here, and here that money received to upgrade voting systems have been wasted.
A state audit released last week found that, under the direction of
the Secretary of State's Office, millions of dollars set aside for the
improvement of voting systems have been misused.
Among the state's shortcomings are lack of clear and workable
standards for satisfactory voting systems, lack of transparency in the
distribution of funds, and money spent on projects that were not fully
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