Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Is this the End of the Election Assistance Commission?

Last week, the House Administration Committee approved legislation to shut down the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The EAC was originally organized over 10 years ago with a limited mission to help states improve their election systems. Many are saying it is no longer useful and leaving some to question whether it was useful to begin with.

"This agency needs to go,'' said Rep. Gregg Harper (MS-3), who introduced the bill to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission. "This agency has outlived its usefulness and to continue to fund it is the definition of irresponsibility.''

Congress created the Election Assistance Commission in 2002 as part of the Help America Vote Act to help states improve their voting systems by replacing old punch card and lever voting systems, and to implement statewide registration databases. When the Commission was created, it was only authorized for three years, yet more than 10 years later, with its mission largely complete, the EAC continues.

Rep. Todd Rokita(IN-4), former Secretary of State of Indiana and another member of the House Administration Committee stated:

“The EAC is an outdated program that no longer provides value to taxpayers. And unfortunately, the attitude demonstrated by this small agency is indicative of the problems we’re seeing across all agencies – that somehow, overseers in Washington, D.C., ought to be telling state and local officials how to do their jobs better. It is one more example of an overreaching, wasteful government program that must be cut if we’re going to get serious about our debt crisis and hold the federal government accountable to the Constitution,”

Many election officials on both sides of the political aisle across the country, including the National Association of Secretaries of State, support the ending of the EAC.

The chairwoman of the Administration Committee, Rep. Candice Miller (MI-10), called the Election Assistance Commission "a prime example of waste shielded by bureaucracy."

Currently, the agency's four commissioner slots are vacant and it has an acting executive director. Without enough commissioners, the commission can't adopt new policies, hold formal hearings or issue advisory opinions. Eliminating it would save $11.5 million a year.

Unfortunately, some Democrats seem to believe that the EAC is still needed.  It is not; it is time to end the EAC. 

You can listen to the full hearing regarding the EAC’s ineffectiveness here.


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