House Administration Democrats Denounce Republican Plan to Eliminate the Election Assistance Commission
October 14, 2011 (Washington, DC) The Democratic Members of the House Administration Committee unanimously denounced the Republican Members’ recommendation that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction eliminate the Election Assistance Commission. In their Minority Views, the Democratic Members point out that such a move would actually increase the cost of elections, shift expenses to already burdened state and local budgets, and diminish the quality and transparency of elections nationwide.
This continues a Republican effort to return the EAC’s voting machine certification responsibilities to the Federal Election Commission, the same agency whose failure to properly handle the process led to the nightmare recount in Florida in 2000 and creation of EAC under the Help America Vote Act. In addition to sublimating the EAC’s focus on election administration to the FEC’s focus on campaign finance, it would shift this vital issue from the increasingly effective EAC to the increasingly deadlocked and incapacitated FEC.
Additionally, eliminating the EAC would lead to costly problems on Election Day. The agency is praised by state and local election officials, Democrats and Republicans alike, for its real-world expertise and practical knowledge of election administration to provide vital assistance they can secure nowhere else.
“There is only one agency in the entire federal government,” said Elections Subcommittee Ranking Member Charles A. Gonzalez (TX-20), “focused on helping state and local governments run clean and cost-efficient elections. I cannot put a price on our democracy, but it would be the height of recklessness to do away with that agency when election officials tell us they most need the assistance that only EAC has or can provide.”
House Administration Ranking Member Robert Brady (PA-01) agrees, “Through the bipartisan Help America Vote Act we made great strides to ensure all Americans would be able to cast their vote, and have it counted. We have seen widespread attempts to disenfranchise millions of voters this year, and eliminating the EAC would be yet another step backwards”
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-16) noted that “Eliminating the EAC will only shift the cost of administering elections to our state and local governments, which are already working with limited state budgets. As we head into another presidential election cycle, I for one do not want to see another fiasco like what we endured in 2000. It seems Republicans are more interested in keeping people from the polls than protecting the right to vote.”
House Administration Democrats urge the Joint Committee not to give this plan a single moment of consideration. It will only serve to increase costs while undermining public confidence in the electoral system.