Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Co-Chair Bauer’s Firm Doesn’t Follow his Commission’s Recommendations on Elections

Today, the Co-Chairs of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration on their recent report recommending improvements to voting in the United States. Among the key recommendations made by the Co-Chairs, Democrat Bob Bauer and Republican Ben Ginsberg, was to expand interstate data sharing agreements for voter registration list maintenance. Particularly, the Commission recommends that “[s]uch projects should strive to improve the accuracy of voter registration records, enhance the ability to detect ineligible voting and prosecute voter fraud, reduce administrative costs, and increase registration rates.”

The Republican National Lawyers Association strongly endorses the bipartisan PCEA’s recommendations to expand the interstate sharing of voter registration data for the reasons outlined in its report. RNLA President Craig Burkhardt stated the following:

Based on Democrats’ response to states’ past efforts to remove non-resident voters from the rolls, it is unclear if those on the left will embrace the commonsense proposal for interstate data-sharing. The answer is probably no if recent history is any indicator. Just last October in Virginia, Mr. Bauer’s law partners representing the state Democratic Party sued Virginia unsuccessfully to stop its lawful removal of non-resident, out-of-state voters from its rolls. In its Complaint the DPVA specifically targeted Crosscheck, one of the very programs PCEA endorses, as a Republican-hatched program that is “purportedly designed to prevent voting fraud but that ha[s] the effect of suppressing voter turn-out among the poor, the elderly, and minorities – many of whom are Democratic.” The judge summarily rejected the Democrats’ arguments claiming voter suppression stating they had “not presented any evidence” that the program would disenfranchise any voters. This is just one of many examples of Democrats’ cynical use of hysterics for political purposes to demonize states’ list maintenance practices that the PCEA now recommends.

Both Democrats and Republicans should strongly support the PCEA’s recommendation for interstate voter registration data. Unfortunately, RNLA fears this issue will become the Democrats’ next Photo ID: a relatively non-controversial reform recommended by a bipartisan commission (there the Carter-Baker Commission) that Democrats find valuable to politicize as a Republican plot to disenfranchise Democratic voters.

As the PCEA notes, these programs have several benefits including detecting illegal double-voting, increasing registration rates, and reducing administrative costs. RNLA calls on Democrats to support these proposals and stop playing politics with commonsense reforms that have now been heartily endorsed by President Obama’s Commission on Election Administration.

RNLA is currently preparing a report that will review the PCEA’s proposals and provide additional recommendations for reform. The report will be released in the coming weeks.

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