Last week, President Obama sent the Senate a new nominee for the vacant fourth seat on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, replacing Matthew Butler, his choice in November 2014. His choice, Kate Marshall, is a Democrat and former Nevada State Treasurer who was the party’s unsuccessful candidate for Secretary of State in 2014. … The Republican National Lawyers’ Association called the nomination President Obama’s “third strike,” noting Marshall’s lack of elections background and criticizing Democrats for “view[ing] the EAC [as] a place to reward partisans for their service to the liberal movement” and saying “[i]t is sad that the left has so little regard for election administration.” If and when Marshall’s nomination progresses in the Senate, don’t be surprised to hear similar views in committee or on the floor.
My sense, however, is that it likely won’t get that far; with an election year in full swing – and the EAC still in the partisan crosshairs for the ongoing battle over proof-of-citizenship instructions on the federal registration form – I don’t see much of an opening for progress unless Democrats are willing to somehow make this an issue and even then there’s no guarantee it will move the majority to act.
That said, I didn’t think the EAC would ever get new commissioners and – the proof-of-citizenship fight notwithstanding – they are making progress in other areas like voting system standards and hands-on guidance for election officials. I would be surprised, but pleasantly, if the Senate were to confirm Marshall and fill out the EAC.
Time will tell … stay tuned!