A panel commissioned by the White House to examine the nation’s voting laws after some Americans were forced to wait hours to cast their ballots during the 2012 presidential election presented President Obama with a report on Wednesday calling for a dramatic overhaul of the nation’s electoral practices. After studying the nation’s election laws for the past six months, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration argued that through “a combination of planning… and the efficient allocation of resources,” local jurisdictions could cut wait times at the polls to less than half an hour. “Problems that hinder the efficient administration of elections are both identifiable and solvable,” the commission wrote in its 112-page report. The panel recommended a dozen major changes to electoral practices, including an expansion of online voter registration and early voting.
The group also called for new federal funding to replace voting machines and the creation of local advisory groups to address the needs of voters with disabilities and limited English proficiency.
“Our aim was to transcend partisan divisions and view election administration as public administration that must heed the expressed interests and expectations of voters,” said commission co-chairs Robert Bauer and Benjamin Ginsberg in a joint statement. Bauer served as general counsel to President Obama’s re-election campaign, while Ginsberg served in the same role for Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
The commission also recommended a series of steps designed to prevent voter fraud, including having states update and exchange their voter registration lists to prevent duplicate registrations. The panel also called for a reform for the standards and certification processes for electronic polls, and increased training for poll workers.