President Establishes Voting Commission; Focus Will Include Voting Technology
As Renee mentioned, President Obama issued an Executive Order establishing the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. The Commission was a promise made in the President’s State of the Union address this year, and responds to concerns over long waiting times for voters in the 2012 elections.
The Commission is charged with identifying best practices and making recommendations for more efficient election administration. It is tasked with examining several kinds of obstacles in casting ballots, not just long waiting times at the polling place. Such obstacles, as mentioned in the Executive Order, can include ballot access for military and overseas voters, as well as the problems faced by voters with disabilities and/or limited English proficiency. The Executive Order asks the Commission to consider several elements as appropriate in their deliberations. These include two broad categories of interest to USACM – electronic voting (whether it be vote casting, registering to vote, or otherwise administering an election), and accessible technologies.
The Commission is intended to last a brief time. It must report to the President within six months of its first public meeting, and will disband 30 days after issuing that report. There will be no more than nine members, with two of them serving as Co-Chairs. The President has indicated the two Co-Chairs will be Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg, attorneys with experience serving as counsel to recent Presidential campaigns.