Langevin Election Modernization Efforts Garner National Praise

Aug 22, 2001
(Warwick, R.I.)–In a report examining election systems in all 50 states, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Democratic Investigative Staff praised former Secretary of State, and current U.S. Congressman, Jim Langevin for his successful election reform efforts in Rhode Island.

 “We have done here in Rhode Island what many other states are struggling to do: ensure that every vote legally cast in our elections is properly counted,” said Congressman Langevin.  “Knowing the disastrous results of using antiquated voting machines, I pushed for, and obtained funding to purchase, state of the art equipment.  I am proud to bring such recognition to the State of Rhode Island and hope that other states will look to the Ocean State as a model.”

 In particular, the report lauds Langevin for reforms he advocated for, such as statewide implementation of optical scan voting machines that have resulted in a “low rate of unrecorded ballots.”  In the 2000 Rhode Island election, there were 412,074 ballots cast, with 434 overvotes and 2,492 undervotes, or, as the report explains, 0.7 percent of the ballots cast.  Compared to other states, this number is dramatically low.  Langevin was also noted for his support of Braille ballots, which allow the visually impaired to cast their votes independently.

 The report also identified those areas of our nation's election systems that are in desperate need of repair.  In particular, the report states that primitive machines discarded votes and were impossible for the disabled or non-English-speaking minorities to use.  Purges of voting rolls and under-trained poll workers further contributed to problems in the 2000 presidential election.

 To rectify the apparent national problems, Langevin has introduced three pieces of legislation, based in part upon the successful Rhode Island model, that aim to restore accuracy and faith in the way Americans choose their elected leaders.

 Langevin has introduced legislation that would provide grants to states to purchase state of the art equipment and improve access to voting technology for persons with disabilities, and a resolution calling on Congress to enact meaningful election reform before the next presidential election in 2004.

 “Congress must not ignore the irregularities in our nation’s electoral system, rather we must set minimum voting standards to preserve the sanctity of Democracy,” added Langevin.


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