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Washington, DC – The League of Women Voters today urged Members of Congress to oppose HR 672, proposed legislation which would terminate the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and transfer some of its functions to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
“Seventeen months before the next Presidential election is not the time to shut down the nation’s elections agency,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, national President of the League of Women Voters. “Instead of eliminating the EAC, Congress should strengthen the commission and expand its responsibilities.”
“Unfortunately, elections in our country are still not well-run, and we are concerned that many states and localities are not doing a good job ensuring federally-protected voting rights,” added MacNamara. “A GAO report on the 2008 election said that there are significant problems for persons with disabilities in gaining access to the polls and 31 states reported that ensuring polling place accessibility was ‘challenging.’” And there are other areas of concern outlined in the League’s letter to the U.S. House of Representatives last week.
“The value of the EAC far outweighs its monetary costs; in fact, the costs of poorly run elections are intolerable. It is time for election administration to move into the 21st Century, not back toward the 19th,” MacNamara said. “With these continuing problems, now is certainly not the time for Congress to turn its back on federal efforts to ensure election integrity and improve voter access to the polls and election systems.”
In addition to terminating the EAC, HR 672 would transfer significant responsibilities to the Federal Election Commission.
“This is a remarkably bad idea,” stated MacNamara. “The FEC is a dysfunctional agency. It is overwhelmed by its current responsibilities, as evidenced by repeated court orders to correct its regulations to bring them in line with the laws of the United States. The FEC is starkly divided on partisan lines, making it particularly inappropriate for election administration responsibilities. And the FEC is increasingly unable to make decisions or even to agree on staff-negotiated recommendations.”
“Elections are the life blood of a democracy,” concluded MacNamara. “The League strongly urges Members of the House of Representatives to strengthen the Election Assistance Commission instead of terminating it. Now is not the time for the federal government to step back from its responsibilities for federal elections.”
For a full list of recommendations for how to broaden and enhance the EAC and issues to be examined, read the League’s full letter to the U.S House of Representatives.
Contact: Kelly Ceballos
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. Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages.