Recent GAO reports

From the Government Accountability Office (GAO):

LONG-TERM FISCAL OUTLOOK: Action Is Needed to Avoid the Possibility of a Serious Economic Disruption in the Future, GAO-08-411T (pdf, 21pp/376kB), January 29, 2008

In testimony by the Comptroller General, 3 key points:
  • The federal budget is on an imprudent and unsustainable path
  • Rapidly rising health care costs are our nation's number one fiscal challenge
  • The window of opportunity for action is shrinking as the first baby boomers retire and begin tapping into Social Security and Medicare

STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: Growing Fiscal Challenges Will Emerge during the Next 10 Years, GAO-08-317 (pdf, 78pp/716kB), January 22, 2008
As is true for the federal sector, the growth in health-related expenditures is the primary driver of the fiscal challenges facing the state and local government sector. In particular, two types of state and local expenditures will likely rise quickly. The first is Medicaid expenditures, and the second is expenditures by these governments for health insurance for state and local employees and retirees.

ELDERLY VOTERS: Some Improvements in Voting Accessibility from 2000 to 2004 Elections, but Gaps in Policy and Implementation Remain, GAO-08-442T (pdf, 30pp/792kB), January 31, 2008

This report covers voting accessibility by seniors and the disabled, specifically getting to polling places and being able to cast votes once they arrive. Besides impediments to wheelchair users, the forms of ballots, type size of voting instructions, and lack of ballots with audio-tape or braille ballots may affect access. GAO noted an increase in states' providing alternative voting methods such as early voting, absentee voting without medical certification, curbside voting, allowing voters to go to more accessible polling places, and taking ballots to a voter's residence. Some election officials reported that early and absentee voting added to the "cost and complexity" of elections.

BILINGUAL VOTING ASSISTANCE: Selected Jurisdictions' Strategies for Identifying Needs and Providing Assistance, GAO-08-182 (pdf, 86pp/2.8MB), January 18, 2008

This study was mandated by the "Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006," P.L. 109-246 (pdf, 5pp.), section 9, regarding the implementation of section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Section 203 is codified at 42 USC 1973b(f). GAO gathered information from 14 of the 296 jurisdictions required to provide bilingual voting assistance. It found that evaluating the effectiveness of these programs is difficult, therefore the extent to which they are helpful to language minority voters is unknown.

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