A spending deal that Congress is poised to pass this week will give the Election Assistance Commission $9.6 million next year to help states run elections, including congressional and presidential contests. The $1.1 trillion spending bill released Wednesday ends the threat of a year-end government shutdown and will fund federal agencies through the rest of fiscal 2016. Funding for the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was included in the bill over objections by Rep. Gregg Harper and other Republicans who complain the commission has outlived its usefulness. Harper, a member of the House Administration Committee, re-introduced a bill earlier this year to eliminate the agency. … Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said not all Republicans share Harper’s disdain for the EAC. “It’s obvious the Republican leadership in the House and Senate did not agree with him, otherwise it wouldn’t have been in there,’’ he said.
… Commissioners have said pressing issues the EAC plans to tackle next include aging voting machines. The EAC launched a listening tour across the country earlier this year.
… For years, the EAC operated without an executive director and lacked enough commissioners for a quorum. Three of the four commissioner slots are currently filled. Last month, the agency hired Brian Newby, a former election commissioner from Kansas, as executive director. It also hired Cliff Tatum, former executive director of the District of Columbia Board of Elections, as general counsel.
EAC priorities for next year include conducting a state-by-state voting survey and serving as an information clearinghouse for local officials, according to the agency’s budget request.
Full Article: Bill includes money for Election Assistance Commission.