COMMISSION RECOMMENDS ELECTION CHANGES AT CONGRESSIONAL HEARING

"Lots of work to do,” Says League

Washington, D.C. – This morning, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) will present their report to a Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing entitled, “Bipartisan Support for Improving U.S. Elections: An Overview from the Presidential Commission on Election Administration.” In September 2013, the League submitted testimony to PCEA that urged the Commission to consider a five-point reform agenda as part of its recommendations.

“This is a solid and comprehensive report with many recommendations for action that will improve how elections are run in America,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. “League members around the country can use key parts of the PCEA report in their ongoing efforts to improve the voting process and protect voters.”

“The Commission’s benchmark that no voter waits longer than 30 minutes to vote sets an important goal for every polling place in the country,” MacNamara added. “The PCEA toolkit on polling place management should help elections officials allocate and distribute resources within communities to fix the very long wait times many voters faced in 2012.”

“The Commission’s call for online voter registration is also a positive step, but the accessibility of these systems continues to be a major concern,” noted MacNamara. “A shortcoming of PCEA’s report is the failure to recognize that most of the systems adopted in the states leave out a significant and important part of the population – citizens who don’t have a driver’s license or non-driver’s ID. This limitation is unnecessary and will substantially reduce the effectiveness of online registration. For example, young people are much less likely than the general population to have a driver’s license – and young people are also much less likely to be registered to vote. We are concerned about the discriminatory effect,” added MacNamara.

“The Commission’s recommendation urging Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to transmit voter information electronically to elections officials is a good one but the League believes this should be extended to all social service agencies that register voters as well,” MacNamara said. “Such expansion would enable officials to eliminate costly and time consuming steps in election administration, reduce errors, and increase the ease and convenience of the elections process for both their workers and for voters.”

“Additionally, the report’s discussion of the need to professionalize the election workforce is long overdue,” said MacNamara. “Both this recommendation and PCEA’s call to take politics out of the administration of America’s elections should be given serious consideration and attention.”

“There’s lots of work to do to fix our election systems, and the Commission report is an important boost to those efforts,” concluded MacNamara.

CONTACT: Kelly Ceballos, 202-263-1331, kceballos@lwv.org

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The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.