NASS Reaffirmation of Federal, State and Local Government Election Reform Responsibilities

Adopted February 6, 2001 / Reaffirmed February 5, 2006 / Reaffirmed February 14, 2011 / Revised and Reaffirmed February 13, 2016 

WHEREAS, the nation’s Secretaries of State are committed to protecting an individual’s right to vote by ensuring access, accuracy and integrity in elections, and; 

WHEREAS, the administration of elections is a complex enterprise involving thousands of polling places and election jurisdictions, millions of poll workers, hundreds of thousands of voting machines, more than 142 million registered voters and tens of thousands of election officials, and; 

WHEREAS, the United States was founded upon the principle of self-government in which the right to vote is the most important and fundamental right of the people, and; 

WHEREAS, the conduct of elections is primarily the responsibility of state and local election officials, and; 

WHEREAS, America’s voting systems and election procedures must ensure that all votes are counted accurately and that voting is as easy, convenient and accessible as possible, and; 

WHEREAS, our collective expertise with election issues and our strong commitment to fair and accurate elections will enhance our democratic process, and; 

WHEREAS, to ensure that all eligible voters are afforded their constitutional right to vote and unfettered access to the election process, 

The National Association of Secretaries of State recommends that state and local governments and election officials continue to work to: 

  • Ensure non-discriminatory equal access to the election system for all voters; including elderly, disabled, minority, military, and overseas citizens. 
  • Encourage the adoption and enforcement of rules and procedures to ensure equal treatment of all voters. 
  • Modernize the voting process as necessary, including voting technologies and systems and implement well-defined, consistent standards for what counts as a vote throughout the election process to ensure accurate vote counts and minimal voter error. 
  • Encourage states to adopt uniform state standards and procedures for both recounts and contested elections, in order to ensure that each vote is counted and to provide public confidence in the election results. 
  • Provide election officials with increased funding to implement the recommendations of this resolution. 
  • Conduct voter education and broad-based voter outreach programs. 
  • Expand poll worker recruitment and training programs by adopting the innovative practices of other states and localities, with the ultimate goal of providing a satisfactory Election Day experience for all voters. 
  • Maintain accurate voter registration rolls with a system of intergovernmental cooperation and communication. 
  • Enhance the integrity and timeliness of absentee ballot procedures. 
  • At the will of the states, adopt and adhere to the federal Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG) for Voting Systems. 
  • Provide continuous training and certification for election officials. 
  • Collect data and election information on a regular and consistent basis to provide a nexus for public consumption and systemic improvements. 

NASS further recommends that the Congress provide payments to the states in order to: 

  • Fully fund the continuous update of the federal Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines developed in consensus with state and local election officials. 
  • Fund the compilation and dissemination of successful practices in election administration developed by state and local election officials that support the federal Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines. 
  • Support intergovernmental cooperation and communication among state and local elections officials to facilitate the maintenance of accurate voter registration rolls. 
  • Provide full federal funding to the states to implement mandates imposed by NVRA, HAVA and the MOVE Act impacting election administration. 
  • Hold hearings to assess how the current language in the National Voter Registration Act can accommodate for technological advances. 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Association of Secretaries of State welcomes the opportunity to work with the Administration, Congress, governors, state legislators and local election officials as well as organizations such as the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), the Election Center, the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), all members of the election community, concerned organizations, community groups and the public to ensure our citizens will have accurate, reliable, and efficient systems of elections. 

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we, the National Association of Secretaries of State, reaffirm our determination and commitment to ensure that all eligible voters can register and vote, and that all votes will be counted accurately and fairly in each and every election. 

Adopted the 13th of February, 2016 

In Washington, DC 

EXPIRES: Winter 2021