The embarrassing debacle of the 2000 presidential election, particularly with respect to problems in Florida, prompted Congress to pass the Help America Vote Act of 2002, signed into law by President Bush on October 29, 2002. The election reform law is a compromise product of two earlier bills, the Dodd-McConnell-Bond bill (S. 565) in the Senate and the Ney-Hoyer bill (H.R. 3295) in the House.
Fair and open elections in the United States have been obstructed by antiquated voting machines that fail to accurately record voters' choices, ballots that confuse rather than clarify, overcrowded polling places, polling places that are inaccessible to the disabled and to the blind and to language minorities, inaccurate voter registration lists, and so-called ballot security measures which have the effect, if not the intent, of intimidating and discouraging voters.
In many ways, the new law marks a significant step forward in improving the conduct of elections in the United States. The Help America Vote Act creates for the first time national standards for the administration of all federal, state and local elections. More than $3.8 billion over the next three years have been earmarked by the Act for improvements in voting technology and the election process. These funds will be allocated for voting equipment and technology, the voting process itself and ballot security measures.