Abolishing the Election Assistance Commission is “Irresponsible”
Washington, DC - Today the House Administration Committee voted to terminate the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the only federal agency devoted exclusively to improving election administration on a bi-partisan basis. The EAC Termination Act was sponsored by the committee chairman, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.).
“Eliminating the bi-partisan EAC is an irresponsible decision by the House Administration Committee,” said Chris Carson, President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. “This legislation leaves voting machine standards in limbo just as machines around the country are reaching the end of their useful lives.”
The standards for election equipment were last significantly updated in 2007 and new standards, which the EAC is in the process of developing, need to be approved.
The bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration, co-chaired by the general counsels of the Obama and Romney 2012 campaigns, wrote in their report that: “Without a fully functioning EAC to adopt new standards, many new technologies that might better serve local election administrators are not being brought to the marketplace.”
The EAC does invaluable work to improve our nation’s election system on a voluntary, non-regulatory basis. The bi-partisan organization seeks to ensure the efficacy, reliability, and trustworthiness of our nation’s election systems by conducting research, collecting data, and sharing information among elected officials, the public, and interested organizations. It was set up by the Help America Vote Act, which was adopted after the controversial presidential election in 2000.
“Controversies about the accuracy, conduct and participation in American elections are on the rise,” Carson said, “and abolishing the EAC is exactly the wrong thing to do. This is not the time to sweep problems under the rug.”
“Rather than eliminating the EAC, Congress should provide the agency with resources and a renewed commitment to sponsoring and encouraging information sharing among state and local officials, EAC committees, the non-partisan voting rights community, technical experts and others,” Carson said.
“Elections are the life blood of a democracy. The League of Women Voters strongly opposes this legislation,” Carson concluded.