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Midterm Mania (Yes, Still)

The US Election Assistance Commission met yesterday to conduct its post-mortem of the first elections to be held since the full implementation of the Help America Vote Act.  According to a panel that testified before the commission, the midterm elections -- which many in the election reform community expected would produce a cornucopia of problems -- went more smoothly than predicted.  Deborah Markowitz, Vermont Secretary of State and the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, said that "predictions of election day chaos... were overblown."  However, data on problems encountered across the country is still being collected and analyzed.

There are some issues to watch out for looking ahead to 2008.  R. Doug Lewis, executive director of the Election Center, told the commission that poll workers are expected to know and do too much, which is why his group will organize a national task force to train poll workers in the future.  Elizabeth Ensley, a local elections official and director of the International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers, added that states may be burdened with having to replace or repair costly election equipment for which they may not have the appropriate funds.

The EAC also voted to approve federal standards for voting machine certification.  Sen. Hillary Clinton issued a statement yesterday commending the announcement and urged Congress to approve the Count Every Vote Act, which calls for a voter verified paper trail.

And USA Today points out that immigration has hardly been a hot topic in a race where you'd expect to hear about it, the Texas runoff between Rep. Henry Bonilla (R) and his Democratic challenger, former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, because both men are of Mexican descent.