After years of inaction, it looks like the powers that be in Washington are ready to put the EAC back together. Yesterday, the White House issued a press release that included the following: President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts … This is good news on a variety of fronts. First, these two nominations suggest that Capitol Hill Republicans are ready to let the nomination and confirmation process move forward, which may put to rest (for the time being) the drive to defund and eliminate the EAC. Second, they raise expectations that a full complement of Commissioners will be able to restart and/or continue the lesser-known but crucial functions of the EAC like voting system standards adoption and management of the Election Administration and Voting Survey, which underpins much of the data-focused reforms underway nationwide.
Finally, the fact that both nominees are not only familiar with but have interacted regularly with election officials is a welcome development. Masterson in particular is an inspired choice; Matt has been omnipresent for years in bipartisan discussions about election administration and is likely one of the best people (if not the best) to help the EAC address its role in preventing the “impending crisis in voting technology” identified by the President’s Commission on Election Administration.
This isn’t to say that a full EAC won’t have its bumps; as Rick Hasen notes, one of the first tasks facing a newly-reconstituted EAC will be to weigh in on the proof-of-citizenship requirements at issue in Kansas and Arizona in the case of Kobach v. EAC. I suspect the two new nominees might have a different view of that case than the Democratic nominees Myrna Perez and Tom Hicks. Hopefully that disagreement won’t interfere with moving forward on other efforts that need the EAC to occur.