Clinton, Graham Push New Voting Legislation

Two Democratic senators often mentioned as possible candidates for the vice presidential spot on the 2004 ticket talked voting Wednesday — but not for themselves. Sens. Bob Graham (search) of Florida and Hillary Rodham Clinton (search) of New York are pushing legislation that would ensure a printed receipt of votes cast on new touch-screen computer terminals, arguing it will restore voter confidence in the election process.

They both insisted the move had nothing to do with future political aspirations — and everything to do with past political confusion.

"We can't ever go through what we went through in 2000," said Clinton, referring to the drawn-out recount process in Florida that was eventually settled by the Supreme Court.

To prevent a repeat — and the hard feelings that followed — Clinton and Graham have proposed legislation that would require all computer voting machines to produce a paper record that can be checked after the vote should disputes arise. It also would require that the change be made before the November election.

While Florida's presidential primary on Tuesday had few voting problems, one county did experience problems apparently due to a software glitch.

Graham said problems like that would be addressed if Congress required computer voting machines to leave a "paper trail," spitting out records similar to that of an ATM machine.

The legislation calls for $150 million to fund the technology upgrade.

Both Graham and Clinton's name have been mentioned as possible running mates for presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry. Graham, who abandoned his own presidential bid, has not expressed much interest in the job, while Clinton has said she will serve out her term as senator, which runs through 2006.