CONGRESSMAN UNDERWOOD: GUAM TO GET $5 MILLION FROM 'HELP AMERICA VOTE ACT'

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CONGRESSMAN ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD Delegate from Guam U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

News Release October 13, 2002

CONGRESSMAN UNDERWOOD: GUAM TO GET $5 MILLION FROM 'HELP AMERICA VOTE ACT'

Congressman Robert A. Underwood announced today that Guam will be eligible to receive at least $5 million for election system improvements as part of the Conference Report to H.R. 3295, the Help America Vote Act, which passed the House on Thursday, October 10.

"Although the impetus for this legislation was a result of the State of Florida's experience with punch-card voting in the 2000 Presidential election, voters across the nation, including Guam, will able to benefit from this bill," the Congressman said. "Given the problems our island has faced in funding elections, this is welcome news for voters in Guam."

H.R. 3295, which was introduced by House Administration Committee Chairman Bob Ney (R-OH) and Ranking Member Steny Hoyer (D-MD), seeks to provide payments to states and territories for election administration improvements; establishes the Election Assistance Commission to assist in the administration of federal elections; and establishes minimum election administration standards for states and units of local government with responsibility for the administration of Federal elections.

Overall the bill includes the following provisions:

Federal Grant Program: Authorizes $3.9 billion over three years for states to buy new equipment, train poll workers and create computerized statewide lists of registered voters.

Election Assistance Commission: Creates a new federal agency to distribute federal grant money, to test voting equipment and to serve as a clearinghouse for information on election technology.

Vote Uniformity: Requires states to define what constitutes a legal vote for each type of voting equipment.

Ballot Verification: Requires that voters be given an opportunity to verify their selections and to correct errors prior to casting their ballots.

Poll Accessibility for the Disabled:  Requires polling place accessibility for people with disabilities - ensuring that disabled voters, including the blind, be allowed to cast secret ballots.

Provisional Ballots:  Requires states to provide provisional ballots to voters who do not appear on a registration list.  The ballot would be counted when voter eligibility is confirmed.

Voter Registration: Requires anyone who registers to vote after January 2004 to provide a driver's license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number and specifies that the information is to be verified by State election officials.

Voter Identification: Requires first-time voters, who register by mail, to present some form of identification including: photo identification card, utility bills, a bank statement, a paycheck or a government document showing name and address.

Guam is eligible to receive funds under two provisions of the bill.  Guam will be eligible for $1 million, after the approval of an outlined plan, from the General Services Administration for activities to improve the administration of elections, including educating voters concerning voting procedures, voting rights, and voting technology; training election officials, poll workers, and election volunteers; improving or replacing voting systems and technology and methods for casting and counting votes; improving access to polling places; establishing toll-free hotlines for voters to report possible voting fraud and voting rights violations; and establishing uniform and nondiscriminatory election technology and administration requirements.

Guam will also be eligible for $4.048 million for FY 2003 through FY 2005 for election system improvements after submitting a plan outlining the election system reforms the Government of Guam intends to undertake.  These funds will be used for establishing uniform and nondiscriminatory election technology and administration requirements under Title III of the bill.

Joseph E. Duenas Special Assistant Office of Congressman Robert A. Underwood, M.C. Guam District Office 120 Father Duenas Ave., Suite 107 Hagåtña, Guam 96910 Phone: (671) 477-4272 Fax: (671) 477-2587

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