Low Expectations for Election Administration Commission


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

President Obama followed through on his State of The Union Address and signed an executive order establishing an election administration commission to improve access to and efficiency at the polls.

The two co-chairs are the chief lawyers representing the candidates in
the 2012 election: Ben Ginsburg of the Mitt Romney campaign and Ben
Bauer of the Obama campaign. I would caution low expectations for this commission with Ben Ginsburg as co-chair. Ginsburg is the GOP's point man in court for voter suppression. Obama creates voting commission:

The commission will have nine members, appointed by the president. The
two co-chairs are the chief lawyers representing the candidates in the
2012 election: Ben Ginsburg of the Mitt Romney campaign and Ben Bauer of
the Obama campaign.

Their report is “intended to serve as a best practices guide for
state and local election officials to improve voters’ experience at the
polls under their existing election laws,” White House spokesman Josh
Earnest said Thursday.

Among other things, the commission will investigate the management
and number of polling places, the training and number of poll workers,
voting machine technology, provisional and absentee ballot issues and
ballot simplicity.

Obama is asking for a report six months after the group’s first
meeting. The commission will dissolve 30 days after its final report.

UPDATE: Project Vote press release:

Washington, DC – In a report released today, voting
rights organization Project Vote analyzes all of the voting related
bills introduced, passed, or rejected across the country in the first
quarter of 2013, and finds that the recent trend towards
disenfranchisement continues.

According to the report, Election Legislation 2013: Threats and Opportunities Assessment, 30 states introduced laws that restrict voting.

From the White House: Executive Order — Establishment of the Presidential Commission of Election Administration

Executive Order — Establishment of the Presidential Commission of Election Administration


– – – – – – –


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and
the laws of the United States of America, and in order to promote the
efficient administration of Federal elections and to improve the
experience of all voters, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Establishment. There is established the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (Commission).

Sec. 2. Membership. (a) The Commission shall be
composed of not more than nine members appointed by the President. The
members shall be drawn from among distinguished individuals with
knowledge about or experience in the administration of State or local
elections, as well as representatives of successful customer
service-oriented businesses, and any other individuals with knowledge or
experience determined by the President to be of value to the

(b) The President shall designate two members of the Commission to serve as Co-Chairs.

Sec. 3. Mission. (a) The Commission shall
identify best practices and otherwise make recommendations to promote
the efficient administration of elections in order to ensure that all
eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots without undue
delay, and to improve the experience of voters facing other obstacles
in casting their ballots, such as members of the military, overseas
voters, voters with disabilities, and voters with limited English

In doing so, the Commission shall consider as appropriate:

(i) the number, location, management, operation, and design of polling places;

(ii) the training, recruitment, and number of poll workers;

(iii) voting accessibility for uniformed and overseas voters;

(iv) the efficient management of voter rolls and poll books;

(v) voting machine capacity and technology;

(vi) ballot simplicity and voter education;

(vii) voting accessibility for individuals with disabilities, limited English proficiency, and other special needs;

(viii) management of issuing and processing provisional ballots in the polling place on Election Day;

(ix) the issues presented by the administration of absentee ballot programs;

(x) the adequacy of contingency plans for natural disasters and other emergencies that may disrupt elections; and

(xi) other issues related to the efficient administration of
elections that the Co-Chairs agree are necessary and appropriate to the
Commission's work.

(b) The Commission shall be advisory in nature and shall submit a
final report to the President within 6 months of the date of the
Commission's first public meeting.

Sec. 4. Administration. (a) The Commission shall
hold public meetings and engage with Federal, State, and local
officials, technical advisors, and nongovernmental organizations, as
necessary to carry out its mission.

(b) In carrying out its mission, the Commission shall be informed by,
and shall strive to avoid duplicating, the efforts of other
governmental entities.

(c) The Commission shall have a staff, which shall provide support for the functions of the Commission.

Sec. 5. Termination. The Commission shall terminate 30 days after it presents its final report to the President.

Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) To the extent
permitted by law, and subject to the availability of appropriations, the
General Services Administration shall provide the Commission with such
administrative services, funds, facilities, staff, equipment, and other
support services as may be necessary to carry out its mission on a
reimbursable basis.

(b) Insofar as the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5
U.S.C. App.) (the "Act"), may apply to the Commission, any functions of
the President under that Act, except for those in section 6 of the Act,
shall be performed by the Administrator of General Services.

(c) Members of the Commission shall serve without any additional
compensation for their work on the Commission, but shall be allowed
travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, to the
extent permitted by law for persons serving intermittently in the
Government service (5 U.S.C. 5701-5707).

(d) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to a department, agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and
Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(e) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or
benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by
any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or
entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

NOTE: The Commission does not appear to have a web site or contact information set up as yet.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. So long as we have maintain the peculiar patchwork of state laws regulating voting AND the great incentives for one party or the other to bend the process for their own benefit (I’m looking at YOU, Ohio!) we will continue to be a remarkably un-democratic democracy.

    There should be no local nonsense about what voting hours are, or how many machines there are or what method we use to count the votes. The rest of the civilized world manages to have regular elections without the repressive BS we’re seeing today in the US.

    All the nonsense about “States are the laboratories of democracy” is just that, nonsense.

    My right and ability to vote should not be determined by what neighborhood I live in, or what party currently rules that state.