Don’t Kill the Election Assistance Commission

The new administration and state election officials have the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in their crosshairs.  It is not a watchdog agency.  The EAC is intended to help assist officials across the country share information and create voluntary standards for election systems. Many states look to and require Federal certification of election equipment.  In a stranglehold for years, the EAC was on life support until commissioners were finally appointed a couple of years back.  Efforts to update outdated standards, improve and streamline the certification process are close to fruition, yet may never be completed.  As summarized in The Atlantic The Federal Voting Agency Republicans
Want to Kill <read>

Every odd-numbered year since 2011, Republicans in the House have tried to kill the Election
Assistance Commission—the tiny federal agency responsible for helping states improve their
voting systems. None of their previous efforts made it very far, and with Barack Obama in the
White House…

The EAC went fallow for a few years when the Senate stalled in confirming new commissioners,
a period that delayed the introduction of new voting machines in some states because the agency
could not approve new guidelines. Now housed outside Washington in a small suite of offices in
suburban Maryland, the EAC is waging a public battle for its very existence. The commission’s chairman, Thomas Hicks, issued a statement denouncing the GOP move to eliminate the EAC as being “seriously out of step with the current U.S. election landscape.” And in a subsequent phone interview, Hicks noted that among its other activities during the 2016 election, the agency had provided critical guidance to states seeking to bolster their systems against the threat of cyberattack.

In the interview, Hicks responded to Harper’s criticism of the EAC’s relevance by comparing its unheralded work to a city sanitation department that clears the streets after a snowstorm. “If you
don’t notice it,” Hicks said, “that means we’re doing our job.”

It is not just the Republicans.  It is the National Association of Secretaries of State, currently headed by Connecticut’s Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill. Good Grief! the EAC is intended to help them do their jobs.  Maybe they will change their stand this week, yet we doubt it.  The NASS Resolution from 2015: <read>

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Association of Secretaries of State, expressing their continued consistent position in 2015, reaffirm their resolution of 2005 and 2010 and encourage Congress not to reauthorize or fund the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.


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