A bipartisan commission recommended a series of steps Wednesday to make it simpler to cast ballots in the next election, but largely avoided the most politically contentious issues in a debate over voter access that has become deeply partisan. Concluding a six-month review, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration said in its report that jurisdictions should expand online voter registration and early balloting, update electronic voting equipment as first-generation voting machines grow obsolete and share voter registration records across state lines to protect against fraud.
The 112-page report also suggests improvements in the more traditional ways Americans have voted. They include increasing the number of schools used as polling places, locating polling places close to voters’ homes and simplifying voting for members of the military and other Americans living overseas through better access to state Web sites.
Together the recommendations present a comprehensive, if largely unsurprising, list of ways to make voting easier for millions of Americans — a promise President Obama made on the night of his reelection. The suggestions, all tested at the state level, occupy what is perhaps the safest ground in the partisan debate over U.S. elections, avoiding the more politically treacherous proposals surrounding online voting, same-day registration and other issues.