In spite of President Donald Trump’s unverified claims that millions of people voted illegally in the US election, a House committee has voted to eliminate an independent election commission. The Republican-led House Administration Committee voted 6-3 along party lines to scrap the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) on Tuesday (7 February) – the only federal body aimed at ensuring voting machines cannot be hacked. Though Trump’s assertions have been widely discredited, public advocacy groups have raised serious concerns about the decision because of the body’s importance. It was created in the aftermath of the 2000 election and the Florida recount controversy which decided the race between George W Bush and Al Gore. Since then, the EAC has grown to even greater significance as many of the country’s voting machines have become outdated, with the Brennan Center for Justice saying the situation is an “impending crisis”. They were one of 38 bodies to denounce the vote to scrap the EAC, stating it puts America’s democracy at risk.
“The EAC is the only federal agency which has as its central mission the improvement of election administration, and it undertakes essential activities that no other institution is equipped to address,” the Brennan Center said in a letter to the committee.
“It sets national standards for new voting machines and systems through its certification program, tracks and corrects problems with those systems through its quality monitoring programme, conducts research into election management and improvement, collects and disseminates critical election administration data, provides a clearinghouse of information for local election officials, and promotes accessible voting for Americans with disabilities.