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DOJ working with states on voting upgrades in election run-up

[JURIST] US Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim [official profile] said Tuesday that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is working with states missing deadlines to update voting databases and equipment under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 [PDF text; FEC overview] before mid-term elections on November 7. The DOJ has already sued 17 jurisdictions, including the states of Alabama, Maine, New Jersey and New York [JURIST report], for missing previous deadlines this year, but Kim said the Department would prefer to sit down with states and figure out how to fix problems. HAVA requires states to adequately prepare for transition to electronic ballot machines and to create a voter registration database, but the DOJ has exempted states that make a good faith effort to implement the changes and worked to remedy the lag in compliance.

The DOJ cannot confirm the number of states that are in full compliance with the HAVA provisions. Critics contend that the use of old voting machines will greatly affect the outcomes of state elections that could be crucial to control of the Congress, especially in states where outdated equipment such as lever ballot machines are being used. Over 800 federal officials will observe the general elections in 20 states on November 7. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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