Iowa’s Chet Culver was among four secretaries of state called to Washington today to testify before a congressional oversight committee on election reform. Culver told the committee Iowa’s making good progress implementing the “Help America Vote Act.” He says Iowa is leading the nation in implementing these important election-reform measures, and thinks by 2006 when it’s all done Iowa will be a model the nation can look to for how election administration shojuld be conducted. Culver says Iowa has good news to share with the lawmakers in Washington who voted to send states money for upgrading their election equipment. It’s the first time since 1789, he says, that the federal government’s helped states with election administration funding. Culver says it’ll make Iowa’s good practices “the very best.” Chet says Iowa’s participation rate in voting makes it a good test state for updating voting technology. He says 95-percent of eligible Iowans were registered and we had a 75-percent voter turnout in 2004, both all-time records. Culver says getting modern voting machines lets local officials make unprecedented improvements in voter access. He says it may be the most important piece of civil-rights and voting-rights legislation since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Culver says the program’s going to help counties pay up to 90-percent of the cost of new voting technology. The election-reform plan’s on his agency’s website — www.sos.state.ia.us.
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