This week, the House will vote on H.R. 672--legislation to end the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the independent bipartisan commission charged with improving the conduct of elections in America to ensure that every vote counts.
The embarrassing debacle of the 2000 presidential election, in which perhaps millions of Americans were denied the right to vote or had their ballots not counted by voting machines that failed to accurately record voters' choices or due to confusing ballots. In response, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act of 2002, signed into law by President Bush in 2002, that created this commission.
Republicans and Democrats alike agreed that the Federal government had a duty to step in and improve election systems and procedures so that every qualified citizen's vote is counted: to provide states the financial and informational resources to upgrade their voting and registration systems, train their poll workers, and improve access for disabled voters.
Abolishing the EAC would simply shift costs to the FEC and local governments, not save money, while creating an invitation to repeat the mistakes that blemished our democracy in 2000.
Fundamental to our democracy is that we have free and fair elections, that every vote is counted, that every American be permitted to vote, and that's what this commission is about.
The bill is opposed by a range of public interest groups, including the League of Women Voters, Public Citizen, National Disability Rights Network, NAACP, AFL-CIO, National Association of Latino Appointed and Elected Officials (NALEO), the Lawyers's Committee for Civil Rights and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (a coalition of more than 200 national organization to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States).
- 'Congress should not turn its back on federal efforts to ensure election integrity, improve voter access to the polls, and improve election systems…It is time for election administration to move into the 21st Century, not back toward the 19th.' League of Women Voters
- 'It has played a major role in collecting accurate election data; training the leagues of state elections officers; developing uniform standards for voting equipment; and improving accessibility of voting for the nation's 37 million voters with disabilities… The greatest democracy in the world should never have to find itself in the situation where its election outcomes are in doubt.' Public Citizen
This legislation builds on the anti-reform record of House Republicans. Earlier this year, Republicans voted to strengthen the role of special interests in our elections -- by ending the Presidential Election fund that promotes small campaign donations and against disclosure of foreign countries, companies, or individuals donating to presidential campaigns.
The Federal Election Commission's mission is 'administering and enforcing federal campaign finance laws.' Testing and certifying voting machines does not and should not be conducted by the same entity that manages money in politics.