A spending deal that Congress is poised to pass this week will give the Election Assistance Commission $9.6 million next year to help states run elections, including congressional and presidential contests. The $1.1 trillion spending bill released Wednesday ends the threat of a year-end government shutdown and will fund federal agencies through the rest of fiscal 2016. Funding for the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was included in the bill over objections by Rep. Gregg Harper and other Republicans who complain the commission has outlived its usefulness. Harper, a member of the House Administration Committee, re-introduced a bill earlier this year to eliminate the agency. … Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said not all Republicans share Harper’s disdain for the EAC. “It’s obvious the Republican leadership in the House and Senate did not agree with him, otherwise it wouldn’t have been in there,’’ he said.
Voting Blogs: Meet the new elections commissioners: US EAC has quorum for first time in several years |electionlineWeekly
Late in 2014, the U.S. Congress finally — and unanimously — approved the appointment of three new commissioners to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The commission had been without a quorum for four years with new appointments getting hung up on things the way most things on Capitol Hill get hung up — partisanship. And even with a quorum finally in place, some on Capitol Hill aren’t all that happy. Mississippi Rep. Gregg Harper has introduced legislation to eliminate the EAC. H.R. 195 calls for the termination of the commission and assigns remaining duties to the Office of Personnel Management and the Federal Elections Commission. The legislation has been referred to the House Administration Committee.
The federal agency that helps states improve their election systems is warning that aging voting machines could create problems in next year’s presidential election. Many of the machines were purchased more than a decade ago, according to the Election Assistance Commission. “It’s a big concern not just for us, but (for) state and local officials who are running these elections,” said Christy McCormick, new chairwoman of the independent, bipartisan commission. “Hopefully, they can prevent any major problems in 2016, but it’s going to be a challenge.” It’s one of several issues the EAC plans to highlight as it ramps up operations after four years without enough commissioners for a quorum. The commission held a public hearing Tuesday to discuss its plans, and recently kicked off a listening tour to hear from local election officials and advocates. Commissioners will visit New Orleans next week. “It’s like our moment to be able to reinvigorate the commission and figure out what our stakeholders need from us going forward,” McCormick said.
Republicans moved a step forward Tuesday in their continuing effort to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission, which was created to help states run elections. A House committee approved legislation Tuesday to shut down the federal commission set up more than 10 years ago to help states improve their election systems. “This agency needs to go,” said Mississippi Republican Rep. Gregg Harper, who introduced the bill to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission. “This agency has outlived its usefulness and to continue to fund it is the definition of irresponsibility.” The House Administration Committee approved the legislation by voice vote. This marks Harper’s third attempt in four years to close the bipartisan independent commission, which he called a “bloated bureaucracy.” It is not clear when the full House will vote on the measure. Harper said he’s working to persuade a senator to introduce a companion measure in that chamber.
Voting problems are nothing new. But as President Barack Obama showed Tuesday night, so are proposed solutions. In announcing his plan to create a new commission to “fix” long voting lines, Obama was mirroring similar efforts that followed the razor-thin — and infamously controversial — 2000 election. But unlike that response – Congress created the Election Assistance Commission that over the next decade doled out more than $3.2 billion to help states buy voting equipment, recruit poll workers and improve record keeping – the Obama White House has yet to say much about who’ll be named to the new commission or what they’ll be asked to do. Meanwhile, the 2002 commission is foundering, virtually inactive and unfunded. “There is nothing they are doing that is sufficient enough to justify their existence,” said U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., a longtime critic. “It’s the perfect example of what [former president] Ronald Reagan said — that the closest thing to eternal life on this Earth was a government program.” That may leave Florida voters, tens of thousands of whom waited up to seven hours to vote on Nov. 6, waiting to see if the lines they faced will become a serious federal issue or just more political fodder. At this point, it seems far more likely that the first response will come from the Florida Legislature.
Michigan Republican Candice S. Miller was appointed chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, House Speaker John A. Boehner announced Friday afternoon, making Miller the only female chairman of a House committee for the 113th Congress. Miller’s selection over Mississippi Rep. Gregg Harper — who had expressed interest in the post — comes just days after House Republicans were chided by Democrats and some womens’ groups for signing off on an all-white male cast to lead the 19 major House committees. Miller will replace Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., who lost his bid for re-election to Democrat Ami Bera.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., today called on Republican leaders to recommend nominees for a federal election agency that sat without a single commissioner, executive director or general counsel as voters encountered long lines, machine malfunctions and other problems on Election Day.
Boxer urged Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to take “immediate action” to fill the vacancies at the Election Assistance Commission by recommending names for the two open Republican commissioner positions after not doing so for nearly a year. “I believe the dysfunction we witnessed may have been reduced had this commission been fully staffed and operational,” Boxer wrote in a letter.
Republican lawmakers say it’s time to do away with the federal commission that has given states election-related advice for the past years. The lawmakers say the Election Assistance Commission has outlived its usefulness. “We do not need a separate federal agency for the small number of useful functions it performs,’’ said Republican Rep. Gregg Harper of Mississippi, who introduced a bill last year to shut down the commission. “They can be accomplished more efficiently within another agency.” The EAC drew new attention after the Nov. 6 election.
National: EAC: Zombie Agency – Two Remaining Commissioners Resign One Year After Agency Loses Quorum | Rep. Gregg Harper Press Release
Today, Subcommittee on Elections Chairman Gregg Harper, R-Miss., issued the following statement after the resignation of the two remaining commissioners at the Election Assistance Commission (EAC):
“Exactly one year ago today, EAC Commissioner Hillman resigned from the agency leaving it without a quorum and unable to make policy decisions. In the last week, the two remaining commissioners announced their resignations, and the President nominated the general counsel and acting executive director for a position at another agency.
Republicans in state legislatures across the country have spent the past year mounting an all-out assault on voting rights, pushing a slew of voter ID and redistricting measures that are widely expected to dilute the power of minority and low-income voters in next November’s elections. Now that effort has come to Capitol Hill, where a congressional committee will vote Thursday on a GOP-backed bill to eviscerate the Election Assistance Commission (EAC)—the last line of defense against fraud and tampering in electronic voting systems around the country.
The EAC was created in the wake of 2000’s controversial presidential election as a means of improving the quality standards for electronic voting systems. Its four commissioners (two Republicans and two Democrats) are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The commission tests voting equipment for states and localities, distributes grants to help improve voting standards, and offers helpful guidance on proofing ballots to some 4,600 local election jurisdictions. It also collects information on overseas and military voters and tracks the return rate for absentee ballots sent to these voters.
On Friday, a House subcommittee on elections will vote on Rep. Gregg Harper’s (R-Miss.) bill eliminating the EAC along with the longstanding public financing system for presidential campaigns. Republicans claim that the commission has already achieved its aim of cleaning up elections. Its responsibilities, they argue, can be reabsorbed by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), which oversaw voting machine certification prior to the EAC’s creation in 2002. Ending the EAC, Republicans estimate, will save $33 million over the next five years.
National: House Votes to End Presidential Campaign Fund and Election Assistance Commission | Roll Call News
The House voted today to end taxpayer financing of presidential elections.
In a 235-190 vote, the House approved a measure to terminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and shut down the Election Assistance Commission, a national clearinghouse on the mechanics of voting.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the bill has no chance in the Senate, harshly criticizing House Republicans for advancing it. “Instead of making it so it’s easier for people to vote, they want to do everything they can to make it easier to make it harder for people to vote. I don’t understand this,” Reid said. “They want to have as few people to vote as possible.”
Members of the House on Wednesday rejected a bill to end the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which Republicans said would save $33 million over five years by eliminating a commission who’s primary purpose has been achieved.
Members voted 235-187 in favor of the bill, which was not enough to ensure passage under a suspension of House rules. Suspension votes require the support of two-thirds of all voting members. Every voting Republican supported it, and every voting Democrat opposed it.
The House debated the bill, H.R. 672, Tuesday night. Republicans said the vote would test the willingness of Democrats to support cuts to federal spending, while Democrats argued that the EAC still serves a useful purpose in helping states establish voting standards and test voting equipment.
Tuesday night debate on a bill to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) resolved nothing, and if anything made it more clear that the bill runs the risk of failing on Wednesday, as all Democratic speakers spoke out against it.
The bill, H.R. 672, is up Wednesday on the suspension calendar, which means two-thirds of all voting members to support it for passage. Republicans would likely need more than 40 Democrats to support the bill for passage, but Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas), one of the three Democratic members of the House Committee on Administration, predicted that Democrats would defeat the bill Wednesday.
The House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to repeal an election commission set up after the controversial 2000 presidential election. Members plan to vote on H.R. 672, which would repeal the Election Assistance Commission. That commission was established in 2002 after confusion and controversy over ballots in Florida for presidential election between then-Vice President Al Gore and then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
The commission was set up under the Help America Vote Act approved in 2002. That law created the commission, which set voting guidelines for states, and to distribute funds to states that could be used to update voting equipment.
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), the sponsor of H.R. 672, says repealing the commission would save $14 million a year and that it can safely be repealed because the commission’s work has been completed. He said that in 2010, the National Association of Secretaries of State renewed their request to repeal the EAC, which has “served its purpose.”
National: Republicans vote to end Election Assistance Commission, set up after Bush v. Gore – TheHill.com
Republicans on the Committee on House Administration have voted to eliminate the independent commission that was established to address election problems after the contested 2000 presidential contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission, established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002, has disbursed more than $3 billion in…
An effort by House Republicans to close the Election Assistance Commission cleared its first obstacle Wednesday. After some limited Democratic opposition, the House Administration Committee approved a bill that would remove funding from the EAC and transfer much of its responsibilities to the Federal Election Commission. The bill, which was approved by voice vote, is expected…
National: Congressman Gregg Harper seeks to eliminate Election Assitance Commission | The Daily Caller
With America facing a debt crisis, legislatures have gone spelunking for areas of government to cut. Mississippi Republican Rep. Gregg Harper has surfaced with a proposal to eliminate what Ronald Reagan once quipped was the nearest thing to eternal life: a government agency. Harper’s bill would terminate the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which Congress created…
House Republicans are seeking to abolish the federal Election Assistance Commission — as if the nation is fully recovered from the hanging-chad nightmare of 2000. The 9-year-old commission was created in bipartisan Congressional resolve to repair the nation’s crazy quilt of tattered election standards and faltering machinery. The commission was charged with upgrading the mechanics…
The House Administration Committee will step up election oversight, as it increases hearings to twice a month and sets its sights on terminating the Election Assistance Commission. “There are a number of things that need to be addressed in the coming months,” said Elections subcommittee Chairman Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.). “Oversight certainly has been lacking…
House Republicans may have found a way to trim $14 million from the federal budget: eliminate the Election Assistance Commission. The House Administration Committee is holding a hearing today to discuss closing the agency that is charged with administering federal election requirements and testing voting equipment. A corresponding Republican bill that would transfer most of…
Committee on House Administration Subcommittee on Elections Chairman Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., introduced legislation to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and save taxpayers approximately $14 million dollars a year. “The Election Assistance Commission is a prime example of an unnecessary government organization developed with good intentions that has outlived its usefulness. By eliminating the…