Committee on House Administration Democrats Introduce Bill to Reform and Reauthorize the Election Assistance Commission

May 16, 2013 Issues: Elections

 

May 16, 2013 (Washington, D.C.) – Today, Committee on House Administration Ranking Member, Robert Brady (D-PA), along with Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Representative Juan Vargas (D-CA) introduced H.R.2017, a bill to reform and reauthorize the Election Assistance Commission (EAC).

The EAC was created in the aftermath of the disastrous elections of 2000 as part of the Help America Vote Act. The agency is designed to assist state and local election officials to ensure smooth, accurate, and fair elections. Congressional Republicans have undermined the agency by holding up nominations and attempting to abolish the agency. The result of their assault on the EAC was seen in the unreasonably long lines, confusion, and disenfranchisement of thousands in the 2012 election.

“There’s no magic solution when it comes to fixing how our elections are run,” said Brady. “Improving election administration has to be an ongoing effort, and the EAC is the only Federal agency equipped to assist our overworked and under-appreciated local election officials. We saw what happens when the EAC’s assistance is pulled in the last election. We owe it to the American people to not let that happen again.”“Democracy is a participatory process, and in order for it to work, we need a fair, transparent election system that lets all Americans easily engage in that process,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren.  “The EAC, created after the debacle of the 2000 presidential election, can help election officials ensure the integrity of federal elections and improve voter access at the polls.”

“The Election Assistance Commission is a much needed agency that assists local election officials in running effective and transparent elections; ensuring American voters’ voices are heard,” said Rep. Vargas.  “This bill would reduce costs, add new accountability measures, and protect our fundamental right as citizens to vote in an efficient manner.”

The proposal goes beyond a simple reauthorization, making substantive improvements and rectifying the problems seen in 2012. H.R. 2017 reduces agency costs, and requires a cost-effectiveness study. It improves elections by soliciting feedback from local election officials, allowing commissioners to better track problems and target assistance. It improves access to polls for voters with disabilities, and it improves transparency by preventing manufacturers from paying for the audits of their own machines.