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Senate Democrats introduced a bill Monday to combat long lines at the polls and further a variety of other election-related reforms they say are necessary for a “fair and transparent voting system.” [IMGCAP(1)]

The Democracy Begins At Home Act, introduced by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), would require the Election Assistance Commission to establish mandatory standards establishing a minimum number of voting systems and poll works within a certain geographic area.

The reform measure would also require: voter-verified ballots, though not necessarily the paper variety; Election Day registration procedures for each state; a national federal write-in absentee ballot; public notification of all voter roll purging 60 days in advance of a federal election; a requirement that states establish early voting periods for a minimum of 15 days before an election; a study on making federal Election Day a national holiday; and a requirement that states count any otherwise eligible provisional ballot no matter where in a state it is cast.

Detour Ahead. Construction of the Capitol Visitor Center has prompted the temporary closure of a portion of East Capitol Street.

The one-block area nearest the Capitol grounds, between First and Second streets, will remain closed to vehicular traffic through mid-October. The street will, however, remain open to pedestrian traffic on its south side, adjacent to the Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building.

During the closure, construction crews are scheduled to complete the CVC’s primary utility tunnel, located beneath East Capitol Street. The tunnel will allow the CVC to connect to chilled water and steam lines located at Second Street.

— Amy Keller and Jennifer Yachnin

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