National Association of Secretaries of State Resolutions Regarding Election Reform Legislation

The following resolution was released by the National Association of Secretaries of State at their meeting early this month. The resolution came on the heels of a rather heated exchange between the Secretaries and Congressman Rush Holt's office regarding Holt's latest version of his election reform bill (HR811), which the Secretaries uniformly rejected and called "a horrible bill". The resolution below, wisely drafted generically to apply to any and all proposed legislation coming out from what increasingly appears to be an out-of-touch Congress with respect to what is really needed for meaningful, practical, and fiscally responsible election reform legislation, outlines specifically what they found "horrible" in that particular bill.

NASS Approach to Federal Legislation
Approved February 11, 2007

The nation’s Secretaries of State believe that our federal and state governments must work in cooperation to serve the citizens of the United States. To facilitate the appropriate balance for an equal and effective partnership, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) urges federal officials to adhere to the following guidelines when developing laws and regulations:

1. Members of Congress should respect our country’s legal and historical distinctions in federal and state sovereignty and avoid preemptions of state authority when drafting federal legislation.

2. Federal legislation should include a reasonable timeframe for implementing state requirements or programs.

3. Federal legislation that affects the office and duties of the Secretaries of State should be drafted with input from NASS or a representative sample of the Secretaries of State who would be impacted by the bill.

4. Federal legislation that mandates changes to state laws or regulations should include full funding to support those changes.

5. Federal legislation should not curtail state innovation and authority solely for the sake of creating uniform methods among the states; all legislation should grant states maximum flexibility in determining methodologies properly and effectively carrying out the duties of Secretaries of State, including the protection of voting rights.